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SFO charges Barclays over £2.2bn Qatar loan

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  • 12/02/2018
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SFO charges Barclays over £2.2bn Qatar loan
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has charged Barclays group a second time with unlawful financial assistance over a £2.2bn capital raising deal with Qatar, this time charging Barclays Bank.

 

The fresh charge comes after Barclays Bank’s parent company, Barclays Plc, and four individuals were charged in June 2017 with conspiracy to commit fraud and providing unlawful financial assistance over the same loan.

The charges relate to unlawful financial assistance that Barclays provided to Qatar between October and November 2008, where the £2.2bn loan was given for the purpose of directly or indirectly acquiring shares in Barclays.

The £2.2bn loan in question took place in November 2008, and is related to an £11.8bn emergency fundraising package that year, which helped Barclays avoid a government bailout that would have left the bank part-nationalised, as with Lloyds and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Ian Forrest, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, commented: “While today’s news is potentially a worry for investors, it wasn’t a great surprise.”

Forrest continued: “A similar charge was made against the parent group last June, but today’s news is potentially more significant as it’s the subsidiary which operates the banking licences and is subject to regulation.”

Barclays had secured a number of funding channels in 2008 to sidestep a taxpayer rescue, including from Qatari, Abu Dhabi and Singaporean investors – but the way in which the bank secured the cash has since come under scrutiny.

“Barclays PLC and Barclays Bank PLC intend to defend the respective charges brought against them,” said the bank in a statement.

“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.”

At the time of publication, Barclays’ shares had dropped 0.99% to 192.58 since opening this morning.

The SFO announced the start of its investigations more than five years ago in August 2012, and said the date for the first court appearance for the latest charges will be “set in due course”.

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