Jan 23, 2019

Barclays trial: What lies behind the prosecution?

The bank deregulation of the late 1990s and the credit and property boom of the early-to-mid noughties had led all banks to lend far more than they ever had before. Barclays knew it would need a fall-back plan but who would want to invest in beefing up the banks when they looked in such bad shape? The Qatar Investment Authority invested £1.8bn and a company representing the ruling family in Qatar, Challenger, pumped in another £533m. By early October, it was clear to the Treasury, the Bank of England and the regulators that the private fund-raisings by the banks were not enough. Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling feared that if they didn't force the banks to beef up their threadbare finances as a matter of urgency, more Northern Rock-style bank runs would follow and cash machines would dry up. The SFO originally sought to prosecute not only the bank executives, but the banking group itself, the only time a bank as a corporate entity had faced prosecution since the crisis.

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