The UK Serious Fraud Office brought criminal charges Tuesday against Barclays Plc and four individuals for offenses allegedly committed when the bank sought huge loans from sources in Qatar during the 2008 financial crisis.
The SFO charged the defendants with conspiracy to commit fraud and providing unlawful financial assistance contrary to the Companies Act 1985.
The charges relate to Barclays’ capital raising arrangements with Qatar Holding LLC and Challenger Universal Ltd when the bank secured a $3 billion loan facility.
Qatar Holding is part of the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund. Challenger Universal is an investment vehicle that in 2008 was directed by Qatar’s prime minister.
In an SEC disclosure in March this year, according to FCPA Tracker, Barclays said “the DOJ and SEC are undertaking an investigation into whether the Group’s relationships with third parties who assist Barclays PLC to win or retain business are compliant with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”
The U.S. agencies are also investigating Barclays’ hiring practices in Asia and elsewhere, the disclosure said.
Earlier this year, the UK Financial Conduct Authority re-opened an investigation into fees Barclays paid for the Qatar loans.
On Tuesday, the FCA said in a statement:
We are pleased that this matter, which led to the stay of our own case, is now in the public domain. We welcome a fair and transparent hearing on the basis of the charges set out today by the SFO. We work closely with the SFO across a range of matters, in pursuit of our distinct objectives.
The SFO started its investigation in August 2012.
The former executives charged Tuesday were:
John Silvester Varley, 61, the former Chief Executive Officer of Barclays Plc. He’s a UK citizen living in London.
Roger Allan Jenkins, 61, the former Executive Chairman of Investment Banking and Investment Management in the Middle East and North Africa of Barclays Capital. He’s a UK citizen living in Malibu, California.
Thomas Llewellyn Kalaris, 61, the former Chief Executive of Barclays Wealth and Investment Management, a division of Barclays Plc. He’s an American citizen living in London.
Richard William Boath, 58, the former European Head of Barclays’ Financial Institutions Group. He’s a UK citizen living in London.
The defendants are scheduled to appear in Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on July 3.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.