Feb 28, 2020

Barclays acquittals leave SFO facing the questions

In a stunning setback for the agency, the case also raises wider questions about the SFO's ability to prosecute corporate crime allegations and whether Britain's fraud laws need overhauling. The decision to launch the Barclays case was taken by David Green, who was SFO director from 2012 to 2018 and Alun Milford, its then general counsel. In May 2018, a judge, and later the Court of Appeal, scrubbed all charges against Barclays, leaving the SFO with a whittled down case against the four individual defendants who stood trial at Southwark Crown Court in January 2019. The SFO appeared to get off to a flying start as it opened the case in front of a packed courtroom, showing the jury 860 pieces of evidence, including audio recordings of lurid exchanges between Mr Kalaris, Barclays' former head of wealth, and Mr Boath, who as the former European head of the financial institutions group within the investment bank, had his phone line routinely taped. With Mr Varley out of the case, the SFO emphasised the role of Chris Lucas, Barclays' ex finance director and an alleged co-conspirator, as a "Central" linchpin of the alleged conspiracy.

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