London- Barclays (BARC.L) and four former top executives were charged with fraud on Tuesday over undisclosed payments to Qatari investors as part of an emergency fundraising during the financial crisis in 2008.
Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) charged Barclays Plc, former chief executive John Varley, Roger Jenkins, Tom Kalaris and Richard Boath with conspiracy to commit fraud and unlawful financial assistance in its first criminal prosecution of a bank and senior managers over events during the credit crisis.
The SFO charged Varley, Jenkins, the ex-chairman of its Middle East investment banking arm, Kalaris, a former CEO of the bank’s wealth division and Boath, a former European head of financial institutions, after investigating a two-part fundraising that included a $3 billion loan to Qatar.
The men have been told to appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on July 3.
Barclays said it was considering its position and awaiting further information about the charges, which follow a five-year inquiry into how it avoided the fate of Lloyds (LLOY.L) and RBS (RBS.L) by averting a state bailout.
The case centers on agreements between Barclays and Qatari investors during two fundraisings in June and October 2008.
Qatar Holding, part of the Qatar Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund, and Challenger, an investment vehicle of former Qatari prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, invested around 5.3 billion pounds in Barclays, according to Reuters.
Authorities have examined whether payments from Barclays to Qatar at the same time, such as around 322 million pounds in “advisory services agreements” (ASA), alongside the $3 billion loan, were honest and properly disclosed.
Qatar, which is a major UK investor, has not been accused of wrongdoing. The criminal charge is a reputational blow to Barclays, which is grappling with a string of other legal problems.