- By Zakiya Afzani
Barclays Bank have been charged with serious fraud
Barclays and four former executives have been charged with serious fraud over their actions in the 2008 financial crisis.
The Serious Fraud Office case relates to the way the bank raised billion of pounds from Qatari investors enabling it to avoid a government bailout.
Former chief executive John Varley is one of the four ex-staff who will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 3 July 2017.
Barclays says it is considering its position and awaiting further details.
“The charges arise in the context of Barclays’ capital raisings in June and November 2008. Barclays awaits further details of the charges from the SFO (Serious Fraud Office). ” the bank said in a statement.
It is the first time criminal charges related to the financial crisis have been brought against a bank in the UK.
Varley, former senior investment banker Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris, a former chief executive of Barclays’ wealth division, and Richard Boath, the ex-European head of financial institutions, have all been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud in the June 2008 capital raising.
In addition, Varley and Jenkins have also been charged with the same offence in relation to the October 2008 capital raising and with providing unlawful financial assistance.
Jenkins will “vigorously defend” himself against the charges, his lawyer has told Reuters.
“As one might expect in the challenging circumstances of 2008, Jenkins sought and received both internal and external legal advice on each and every topic covered by the SFO’s accusations. ” said Brad Kaufman from American firm Greenberg Traurig.
Boath, who last year took Barclays to an employment tribunal on the grounds of wrongful dismissal, also pledged to defend himself.
He said in a statement: “The SFO’s decision to charge me is based on a false understanding of my role and the facts. I was not a decision-maker and had no control over what the bank did in 2008.”
Barclays’ employees will claim that they had no control over illegal actions the Bank may have taken in 2008.
John Varley would for most have been an unlikely choice as the first former bank chief executive to face criminal charges over the events of the financial crisis.
Avuncular, calm, Varley was one of the City’s patricians, often portrayed, rightly or not, as a check on Barclays’ hard-charging investment bank, led by Bob Diamond.
Now, along with the bank he once led, he faces two types of charges, both of which relate to fundraisings from Qatar in 2008.
The first charge, conspiracy to commit fraud, relates to “advisory” fees paid to Qatar. The second – “unlawful assistance” – could be more serious.
It relates to a £2bn loan advanced to Qatar after the fundraisings were negotiated – the implication being that there was a money-go-round at work – Barclays was handing Qatar some of the money it was using to support the British bank.
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