Barclays said to plan guilty plea over disclosures in Qatar case

Source says UK bank is brace for fine of at least $128m in case over capital raising from Qatar during financial crisis
By Bloomberg
Sat 17 Jun 2017 10:32 AM

Barclays Plc plans to plead guilty to UK charges that it failed to make proper disclosures about a multi-billion-pound capital raising from Qatar during the financial crisis, according to a person with knowledge of the process.

The bank is braced for a fine, which would likely range from 100 million pounds ($128 million) to 200 million pounds, said the person, who asked not to be identified speaking about the investigation. The fine will be set by a judge under sentencing guidelines.

The Serious Fraud Office, which has been investigating the case for five years, is expected to announce its decision on charges against the bank and several former executives involved in the Qatari deals in the coming days.

The case stems from 322 million pounds in fees Barclays paid Qatari investors for a loan as part of a wider 12 billion-pound fundraising during the 2008 financial crisis to avoid a state bailout. A lack of transparency about the purpose of the side deals led prosecutors to look at whether the payments were legal.

A spokesman at London-based Barclays declined to comment.

"We’re expecting to announce charging decisions within a few days and we wouldn’t make any comment ahead of that," a spokeswoman for the SFO said.

The Qatar deals are also being reviewed by the Financial Conduct Authority, which re-opened its probe earlier this year after more documents came to light.

The case is one of a number of lingering investigations over the bank’s behavior dating back nearly a decade. Since the financial crisis, Barclays has faced probes ranging from the rigging of key benchmark rates to more recent scandals related to how executives dealt with whistle-blowers.

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