Barclays Bank added to Serious Fraud Office charge sheet over Qatar loan

Monday, 12 Feb, 2018

The charges centre on investments secured from Qatari investors in 2008 as the banking sector went into meltdown.

The Serious Fraud Office has today charged Barclays Bank Plc with unlawful financial assistance contrary to s151 (1) and (3) of the Companies Act 1985.

The bank has been accused of "unlawful financial assistance" following the loan to Qatar Holding that was used to buy shares in the bank in 2008.

Shortly afterwards Barclays loaned $3bn (£2.2bn) to the State of Qatar.

However, at the time, the SFO did not have time to make a decision over whether it should charge Barclays Bank as well. Public companies are normally prohibited in the United Kingdom from lending money for the purchase of their own shares, a process known as financial assistance.

Barclays pulled off a huge fundraising package to avoid the need for a Government rescue but the Qatari part of the deal, through a loan to its Ministry of Economy and Finance, has been mired in controversy.

Criminal charges have already been brought against Barclays and four former executives in relation to the fundraise, with trial dates set for 2019.

Following a five-year investigation into the deal with Qatar Holdings, the SFO in June charged Barclays PLC and several former executives with conspiracy to commit fraud.

Two former top executives also face a charge of unlawful financial assistance.

Both Barclays and its bank unit said they will defend themselves against the charges.

"However, it is negative that the group hasn't been able to settle a number of outstanding litigation issues, with outstanding litigation representing an unhelpful distraction to the management of the core franchise", the financial services firm said in a note to clients.