Barclays executives fend off fraud charge

Three senior Barclays bankers have been acquitted of fraud charges relating to emergency funding from Qatar in 2008.

Barclays' legal troubles are far from over © Getty
(Image credit: 2011 Getty Images)

In a “fresh blow to the credibility of the Serious Fraud Office [SFO]”, three senior Barclays bankers have been acquitted of fraud, says Kalyeena Makortoff in The Guardian. They were accused of channelling secret fees to Qatar in return for emergency funding in 2008. The case hinged on Barclays’ decision to pay Qatar £322m in fees. The SFO claimed that the fees were directly linked to Qatar’s decision to invest £4bn in the bank during the crisis. This supposedly gave Qatar more generous terms than other investors in the £11bn deal and also misled the wider market about Barclays’ financial health. But the executives successfully argued that the fees were for advisory services.

The case was always going to be “hard” for the SFO to win, says Philip Augar in The Times. It “had to prove the advisory agreements were a sham without taking evidence from the Qataris, the party providing the services”. But the defence team were able to use the trio’s own notes to find cases where “the advice from Qatar sometimes led to business for Barclays”.

While the executives may have been found not guilty, Barclays’ “legal troubles” stemming from 2008 “are far from over”, says Edward Robinson on Bloomberg. The spotlight now shifts to civil lawsuits and regulatory probes set aside while “criminal proceedings wound through the courts”. Chief among them is a £1.6bn lawsuit from Amanda Staveley, CEO of PCP Capital Partners, for “allegedly cheating her out of profits she claims she should have earned by bringing investors into the bank’s fundraising deal”.

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Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

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