Oct 26, 2018

Barclays spared charges after SFO court setback

Barclays has escaped a high-profile jury trial over its emergency cash raising during the financial crisis after the UK's main anti-fraud agency failed in its last-ditch attempt to reinstate criminal charges against the bank. The failure of the SFO to get the charges against Barclays reinstated will be a further blow for the agency, which has spent more than five years investigating the case against the bank, with special funding from the Treasury. It was the last chance for the SFO to persuade a court that the bank should face charges and be part of a jury trial, scheduled for January, where Barclays' former chief executive, John Varley, will be in the dock with three other former top executives. The SFO had originally charged Barclays with three counts, including conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and unlawful financial assistance over its arrangements with Qatari investors, who ploughed a total of £6.1bn into Barclays over two cash calls in June and October 2008. The bank's loan of $3bn to Qatar just as the October deal was closing prompted the SFO to also bring 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 through which many of its regulatory licences are granted.

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