Jan 30, 2019

Barclays banker worried fees could be viewed as ‘bungs’

A top banker on trial for fraud in a landmark case worried that £320m of secret fees Barclays paid to the sovereign wealth fund and prime minister of Qatar at the height of the financial crisis could be viewed as a "Bung". Richard Boath, one of four former Barclays executives now facing a jury trial at Southwark Crown Court, admitted during interviews over "Numerous days" at the UK's Serious Fraud Office that so-called advisory services agreements were merely a "Mechanism to pay the Qataris additional fees" they demanded for their £4bn investment across two emergency capital raisings, the jury heard on Wednesday. The two capital calls went on to raise over £11bn from Qatar, whom the bank codenamed "Quail", and other investors from Abu Dhabi, China, Singapore and Japan, saving Barclays from a UK government bailout as financial markets roiled. The SFO's case is that the bankers did not properly disclose the fees paid to the Qataris, misleading the market and the other investors, who would have likely demanded the same treatment, or even been put off from investing at all if they saw Barclays' desperation in yielding to the Qatari demands. Mr Boath, who headed up the European financial services group at Barclays' investment bank in 2008, alleged in his SFO interviews that Barclays' internal lawyers knew "Full well" that the ASAs were a device to funnel the Qataris the extra fees they demanded.

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