Mar 9, 2020

Barclays and the legal fight over a ‘controlling mind’

Barclays colleagues dubbed the American head of its wealth division the "Quarterback" because of his role in helping to drive capital raisings over the line. "It is almost impossible to find a controlling mind and prove that controlling mind is complicit in any criminality," says David Green, director of the SFO when it launched its investigation into Barclays, who argues that prosecutions are being hampered by this legal requirement. The SFO had accused Barclays of lending Qatar the money simply to reinvest in the bank, essentially propping up its share price. The first trial judge, Mr Justice Jay, obliterated that assumption: in essence, he ruled that Mr Varley was not the directing mind of Barclays - and Barclays could not be prosecuted on the SFO's evidence. In essence, the bank could not be held accountable for the actions of the chief executive, but neither could the chief executive be accountable for the actions of Barclays.

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