British bank Barclays criminally charged over $21b Qatar fundraising

Barclays' former chief executive John Varley is one of those charged.
REUTERS

Barclays' former chief executive John Varley is one of those charged.

Barclays and four former senior executives have been criminally charged in a high-profile UK investigation into undisclosed payments to Qatari investors during a NZD$21 billion emergency fund raising in 2008.

In a highly anticipated announcement, the UK Serious Fraud Office said on Tuesday it was charging the bank with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and unlawful financial assistance.

Barclays said it was considering its position over the charges and awaited further information.

Barclays bank headquarters in Canary Wharf, east London.
OLIVIA HARRIS/REUTERS

Barclays bank headquarters in Canary Wharf, east London.

It also charged Barclays' former senior executives John Varley, Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris and Richard Boath.

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The fundraising in 2008 included an NZD$4.2 billion loan facility made to the wealthy Gulf state in November 2008, the UK SFO said.

Former chief executive Varley, Jenkins, a former senior investment banker, Kalaris, a former CEO of Barclays' wealth division and Boath, ex European head of financial institutions, have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation during a June 2008 capital raising.

Varley and Jenkins have also been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation in relation to the October 2008 capital raising and face a charge of unlawful financial assistance, the UK SFO said.

"As one might expect in the challenging circumstances of 2008, Mr Jenkins sought and received both internal and external legal advice on each and every topic covered by the SFO's accusations today," Brad Kaufman, long-time counsel for Jenkins at US law firm Greenberg Traurig, told Reuters.

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The men are the most senior bankers in Britain to date to be accused by prosecutors of alleged crimes during the financial crisis, which brought the global financial system to its knees and plunged much of the world into recession.

 - AAP

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