Jan 31, 2019
Barclays trial judge says SFO claims implicate Qatar
Qatari entities must be just as dishonest as the Barclays bankers on trial for fraud if the prosecution is correct, a judge told a jury hearing a criminal trial over the UK lender's attempts to avoid a government bailout during the financial crisis. Mr Justice Jay intervened in a jury trial at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday to spell out that the logic behind the Serious Fraud Office's case against John Varley, the former chief executive of Barclays, and three other top bankers, rests on the allegation that side deals struck with the prime minister and sovereign-wealth fund of Qatar at the same time as two emergency capital calls in 2008 were shams. The Qataris, whose sovereign wealth fund is one of the most active in the world, are not part of the trial and the SFO is not expected to call them as witnesses. These calls were made at the height of the financial crisis and helped Barclays avoid a UK government bailout by raising a total of £11.2bn. The SFO alleges that the £322m in secret fees was not properly disclosed to the market or to the emergency fundraisings' other investors from China, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Japan, who would have expected the same treatment. Mr Brown has also told the jury that the Qataris "Knowingly entered into the mechanism" but has said "The Qataris are not on trial here."
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