United Kingdom presses fraud charges against Barclays over Qatar loan

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When the charges were announced a year ago, the SFO had still to take a decision on whether to charge Barclays Bank PLC, the main operating unit, but has pushed ahead this month.

The regulators are already separately weighing up how to respond to attempts by Barclays Chief Executive Jes Staley to unmask a whistleblower's identity.

Barclays is assuring customers they will not be affected, saying it is ready to defend itself against the charges.

"Barclays does not expect there to be an impact on its ability to serve its customers and clients as a outcome of the charge having been brought".

After a five-year investigation into the events surrounding the cash call, the action by the SFO last summer marked the first criminal charges to be brought in the United Kingdom against a bank and its former executives for activities during the financial crisis.

That included a $3bn loan made to the State of Qatar acting through the Ministry of Economy and Finance in November 2008.

Further to that announcement, the SFO has today charged Barclays Bank PLC with the same offence in respect of the Loan as charged against Barclays PLC on 20 June 2017 ("the Charge"). Public companies are normally prohibited in the United Kingdom from lending money for the purchase of their own shares, a process known as financial assistance.

Barclays, Varley and Jenkins have also been charged with providing unlawful assistance over allegations linked to an October 2008 fundraising. They were also charged with conspiracy to commit fraud.

Barclays had secured a number of funding channels in 2008 to sidestep a taxpayer rescue, including from Qatari, Abu Dhabi and Singaporean investors - but the way in which the bank secured the cash has since come under scrutiny.