As reported in the NYTimes, CNN, and other news outlets.
Barclays, its former chief executive and three other former senior managers were criminally charged on Tuesday over agreements the bank struck with Qatar as it sought to avoid a government bailout during the 2008 global financial crisis.
The executives charged include former CEO John Varley and Roger Jenkins, Barclays’ former head of investment banking in the Middle East. The pair also face a second charge of conspiracy to commit fraud over an October 2008 deal with a group of Qatari investors.
The accusations by the Serious Fraud Office are the first criminal charges to have been brought in Britain against a bank and its former executives as a result of actions taken as the financial crisis worsened.
Nine years ago, the British bank raised nearly 12 billion pounds — more than $15 billion at current exchange rates — from an arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and other investors in two deals, in June 2008 and in October 2008. The moves allowed it to avoid a bailout as a number of major banks on both sides of the Atlantic floundered and sought government lifelines.
The Serious Fraud Office has been scrutinizing whether Barclays properly disclosed an agreement with Qatar that led it to pay more than £300 million for “advisory services” as part of the fund-raising. The office has also been examining a $3 billion loan facility that Barclays made available to the Qatar government in November 2008.
In December, the United States Justice Department sued the bank, accusing it of fraudulently misleading the public in the sale of tens of billions of dollars in securities backed by home mortgages. Barclays has said the claims are “disconnected from the facts” and has vowed to “vigorously defend” itself.
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