UK Fraud Office charges Barclays over Qatar fund-raising

Good morning: The Serious Fraud Office has this morning charged Barclays and four former directors with "conspiracy to commit fraud and the provision of unlawful financial assistance".

Instead of going to the Government in 2008, as banks fought to secure their balance sheets against the credit crunch, Barclays sought a $3bn loan facility from the Qatari Government, as well as raising capital through two companies, Qatar Holding LLC and Challenger Universal Ltd.

The four men are the most senior United Kingdom banking executives charged since the financial crisis, which forced many lenders to seek government bailouts and sparked a global recession.

Former Barclays CEO John Varley is among those facing charges relating to the bank's private bailout from Qatar at the height of the financial crisis. They will appear before a court in London on July 3.

Barclays is now considering its position regarding the charges.

Barclays and four former senior executives have been criminally charged in a high-profile United Kingdom investigation into undisclosed payments to Qatari investors during a NZD$21 billion emergency fund raising in 2008.

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The criminal charges are the first to be bought against a bank and its employees related to the 2008 financial crisis. Mr Boath and Mr Kalaris each face one fraud count.

The Barclays case is a major test for the SFO, which has in recent years failed to successfully prosecute a number of high profile bribery and corruption cases.

Varley and Jenkins and the bank are charged with providing unlawful financial assistance.

Barclays bank headquarters in Canary Wharf, east London.

- Authorities have been examining whether payments from Barclays to Qatar at the same time, such as around 322 million pounds in "advisory services agreements", were honest and properly disclosed.

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