Barclays bank and former boss charged with fraud

Barclays and four former executives including former CEO John Varley have been charged with fraud.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has charged them with conspiracy to commit fraud and the provision of unlawful financial assistance.

The charges relate to Barclays capital raising arrangements with Qatar Holding LLC and Challenger Universal Ltd, which took place in June and October 2008, and a US$3 billion loan facility made available to the State of Qatar acting through the Ministry of Economy and Finance in November 2008.

These are the first criminal charges laid at the door of the very highest bank executives relating to activities during the financial crisis.

The former Barclays executives face a maximum of ten years in prison while Barclays faces being fined if found guilty.

The four charged are John Varley (61), former chief executive officer of Barclays; Roger Alan Jenkins (61), former executive chairman of investment banking and investment management in the Middle East and North Africa, Barclays Capital; Thomas Llewellyn Kalaris (61), former chief executive of Barclays wealth and investment management; and Richard William Boath (58), former European head of financial institutions group.

The defendants will appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court at 2 pm on July 3, 2017.

Barclays said it was considering its position. It shares fell 0.5% on the news.

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The SFO hasn’t pulled any punches, and Barclays now finds itself facing yet another regulatory battle. The bank is already facing litigation from the US Department of Justice and an FCA investigation into its current boss, Jes Staley, for trying to uncover the identity of a whistleblower. Skeletons seem to be jumping out of lots of closets at once for Barclays.”

He added: “However, the muted reaction in the share price highlights the fact that the SFO action was largely priced in, and more widely reflects the ‘misconduct discount’ which applies to the banking sector. Litigation, fines and compensation payments have sadly become part and parcel of the banking world, and while many of the alleged offences took place a long time ago, the costs and reputational damage are still very much a live issue.”

©2017 funds europe

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