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June 21, 2017

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Barclays faces fraud counts over Qatar deal

BRITISH regulators charged Barclays bank and four former executives, including then-CEO John Varley, with conspiracy to commit fraud when they asked Qatar for 6.1 billion pounds (US$7.7 billion) to avoid a government bailout at the height of the financial crisis in 2008.

The Serious Fraud Office announced the charges yesterday following an investigation into two rounds of fundraising from Qatar in June and October of 2008. The probe centered on two side agreements under which Barclays paid the Qatari investors 322 million pounds over five years, the bank disclosed in 2013.

The charges are the first in Britain against a bank and former executives for activities during the 2008 financial crisis.

The fundraising efforts in 2008 came as banks around the world struggled to keep their doors open. Britain’s Northern Rock was forced out of business, while Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group were forced to accept billions of pounds of state aid and the government oversight that came with it.

The SFO’s announcement comes as another blow to Barclays CEO Jes Staley, who is trying to repair the bank’s reputation following a series of scandals while facing an investigation into his own conduct after he attempted to identify a whistle-blower.


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