May 21, 2018

UK court dismisses charges against Barclays over Qatar deal

Barclays has scored a major victory over the Serious Fraud Office after a British criminal court dismissed fraud charges brought against the bank over its emergency fundraising from Qatar during the 2008 financial crisis. Various government reviews have raised questions about the future of the SFO. The Barclays prosecution - the first set of charges in the UK to be brought against a bank for actions taken during the financial crisis - centred around the alleged financial assistance that the bank gave to Qatar through a $3bn loan to directly or indirectly acquire shares in a fundraising. On Monday, Barclays said that the Crown Court had dismissed charges against Barclays plc, its holding company, of conspiring with former executives to commit fraud by false representations over two advisory agreements signed with Qatar Holding in 2008. It also said the court had dismissed charges of unlawful financial assistance - the practice of companies lending money to fund the purchase of their own shares - against both Barclays plc and Barclays Bank plc, one of its main operating subsidiaries. The SFO still has the option to bring a voluntary bill of indictment against Barclays - a rare legal process which means any fresh charges against the bank must be approved by a high court judge.

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