Four senior ex-Barclays executives, and Barclays plc, have been charged with a number of fraud offences after the SFO’s five-year investigation into the raising of billions of pounds from Qatar during the 2008 financial crisis.
Former CEO John Varley, along with Roger Jenkins, Tom Kalaris and Richard Boath will face court next month, charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation. John Varley, Roger Jenkins and Barclays also face a further charge of providing unlawful financial assistance through the loan. If convicted, the men could face lengthy prison sentences and Barclays itself could be hit with a significant fine
All four executives held senior positions within the bank – in addition to John Varley’s role as CEO, Roger Jenkins was Head of Investment Banking and Investment Management in the Middle East. Tom Kalaris ran the Bank’s wealth management arm and Richard Boath was the head of Barclays’ European financial institutions group. It is the first time that the head of a global bank has faced charges in relation to the 2008 financial crisis.
When the markets went into meltdown in 2008, and a number of banks required taxpayer bailouts, Barclays was the one bank chose to raise money from investors in the Middle East, including Qatar Holdings Ltd, a state-owned investment fund. The SFO’s allegations appear to centre around whether payments were correctly disclosed at the time. The SFO also suggest that Barclays advanced a billion pound loan to Qatar after the fundraising was negotiated, which effectively meant that Barclays was loaning money that Qatar was using to support the bank – an offence under the Companies Act.
The fate of the SFO may not be as precarious as recently thought but its Director, David Green QC, appears to be firing a pretty hefty warning shot that he and his agency are best placed to take on a global giant such as Barclays.