Barclays and four of its ex-executives are to appear in court this week following allegations of conspiracy to commit fraud. The allegations date back to a 2008 capital raise from Qatar in a bid to avoid a bailout during the depths of the global financial crisis – today’s hearing represents the latest chapter in an ongoing case.
The Qatari case under investigation involved a deal worth $408 million in fees that Barclays paid to the group, coupled with a $3 billion loan facility it made available to the country itself back in 2008 – this also included a string of side deals that totaled $15.2 billion in fundraising from Qatari and other investors. Nearly nine years later however, the deal is facing scrutiny from the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which found evidence of fraud.
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Last month, John Varley, former Barclays CEO, Roger Jenkins, former chairman of investment banking for the Middle East, ex-chief Thomas Kalaris, and Richard Boath, Barclays’ former European head of the bank’s financial institutions group, were all revealed to have been subjects of a five-year probe from the SFO – all are currently facing charges, which could be clarified as early as today in the court hearing.
Bail terms to be outlined
Mr. Varley and Mr. Jenkins are both facing three counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and unlawful financial assistance. Mr. Boath and Mr. Kalaris each face one fraud count. Today’s hearing will touch on bail terms and future court dates, the first indication of any action since the investigation was brought to light last month.
The SFO had initially probed Barclays’s capital arrangements with Qatar Holding LLC, a subsidiary of the country’s QIA sovereign wealth fund, and Challenger Universal Ltd., which operates as an investment vehicle of the country’s then prime minister. This same deal has since been subject of a parallel investigation by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – the SFO and FCA are currently working closely together.
All four individuals have continued to push back against the SFO’s allegations, with the group as a whole deploying a string of legal defenders. Similar cases in the UK have drawn hefty bail sums of upwards of £1.0 million, according to a Bloomberg report. Following today’s court date however, the case will likely be sent to a higher criminal court on the heels of today’s bail arrangements.