Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

SFO levels charges at Barclays Bank

SFO levels charges at Barclays Bank

The focus is now also on Barclays Bank, a move which is significant as it could impact on the banking licence for the company's operations in different countries.

Barclays Bank PLC has been charged by the Serious Fraud Office over a $3 billion loan it made to Qatar as it raised funds in the financial crisis.

The SFO levelled the same charge against the bank's holding company last June, but it is the operating unit Barclays Bank PLC that is licensed for banking operations, meaning any conviction could also prompt sanctions from regulators.

Both Barclays and its bank unit said they will defend themselves against the charges.

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

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

Reuters quoted analysts at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods as saying that while it was unhelpful for Barclays that the SFO has added charges, it should not change the dynamics of the case materially.

Barclays pulled off an £11.8bn fundraising package from Qatari backers and other investors in 2008 to sidestep the need for a Government rescue, which left Lloyds and RBS part-nationalised.

It will be the first time that a British bank has faced a criminal trial over its conduct during the financial crisis.

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.

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