SFO levels charges at Barclays Bank


The charges relate to financial assistance Barclays Bank Plc gave to Qatar Holding LLC between 1 October and 30 November 2008, which was in the form of a US$3 billion loan for the goal of directly or indirectly acquiring shares in Barclays Plc.

The FTSE 100 lender announced in a statement that both Barclays Plc and Barclays Bank Plc meant to defend the respective charges brought against them, and that the company did not anticipate an impact on its ability to serve customers as a result of the charges.

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

In response Barclays said: "Barclays PLC and Barclays Bank PLC intend to defend the respective charges brought against them".

Barclays says it "does not expect there to be an impact on its ability to serve its customers".

The new charge, in theory at least, puts the bank's entire existence at risk: if it is found guilty its license could be revoked.

At the time it was interpreted by some as sparing a strategically important bank for the United Kingdom from the harm of potentially losing the ability to operate in important markets (like the US) - a possible outcome if convicted. The deal involved Qatar Holding, a subsidiary of the country's QIA sovereign wealth fund, and Challenger Universal, an investment vehicle of Qatar's then prime minister. So today's decision to charge the bank itself is significant.

The SFO probe focuses on emergency fundraising by the bank carried out in 2008 to avoid the fate of bailed-out rivals, including Lloyds Banking Group and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The first appearance for Barclays Bank Plc will be held at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, 14 February at 10am. The SFO opened an investigation into the deal in 2012 and has since charged several former executives and Barclays Plc over the fundraising.