Barclays bank unit charged by UK fraud office over 2008 Qatar loan deal
Barclays Plc’s operating unit faces a new criminal charge in relation to the lender’s controversial 12 billion-pound ($16.6 billion) fundraising at the height of the financial crisis a decade ago.
The accusation of “unlawful financial assistance” against Barclays Bank relates to a $3 billion loan Barclays secured for Qatar in November 2008, the lender said in a statement Monday. The Serious Fraud Office had already filed conspiracy to commit fraud and unlawful financial assistance charges against the holding company and four former executives, including ex-Chief Executive Officer John Varley, in June and a trial is scheduled for early 2019.
Any charges sustained against the operating unit could hurt the lender’s ability to do business globally. Regulatory approvals and banking licenses are usually tied to banks’ operating units.
Both the main company and Barclays Bank intend to contest the charges, according to the 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,” it said.
Barclays’ shares erased an earlier 1.8 percent climb to trade 0.2 percent higher at 10:33 a.m. in London. The stock dropped 9 percent last year — the most of any large European lender — after three-consecutive quarters of disappointing trading revenue cast doubt on managers’ ability to revive earnings at the investment bank.
The new charge adds to years of negative publicity for Britain’s most storied bank. It has paid well over a billion pounds in fines to settle charges that it manipulated foreign-exchange markets and rigged the Libor interest-rate setting mechanism. The Financial Conduct Authority is currently investigating current CEO Jes Staley’s attempt to discover the identity of a whistleblower.