Barclays Bank faces SFO charge over $3bn Qatari loan

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has announced a new charge against Barclays Bank in relation to loans made to Qatari investors during the bank’s fundraising in the aftermath of the financial crisis, following on from earlier charges brought against the holding company, Barclays plc, and four individuals in June 2017

The SFO has charge Barclays Bank with unlawful financial assistance contrary to s151(1) and (3) of the Companies Act 1985.

The charges relate to financial assistance the bank gave to Qatar Holding between 1 October and 30 November 2008, which was in the form of a $3bn (£2.17bn) loan for the purpose of directly or indirectly acquiring shares in Barclays Plc.

A date for the first court appearance will be set in due course, the SFO advised.

In a statement, Barclays said: ‘Barclays plc and Barclays Bank plc intend to defend the respective charges brought against them. Barclays does not expect there to be an impact on its ability to serve its customers and clients as a consequence of the charge having been brought.’

In the SFO’s initial legal action, four former Barclays directors, including former chief executive John Varley, appeared at Southwark crown court last year. They face charges of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation related to the emergency fundraising, and two of them, along with Barclays plc, also face charges of unlawful financial assistance relating to the $3bn loan. The trial, which follows a five-year SFO investigation, is scheduled to begin on 9 January 2019.

Report by Pat Sweet

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