Case stems from $410m in fees Barclays paid Qatari investors for a loan as part of a wider $15bn fundraising during the 2008 financial crisis
Barclays Plc and four former executives were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud regarding the bank’s 2008 capital raising from Qatar, following a five-year investigation into one of the most turbulent periods in financial history.
The Serious Fraud Office said Tuesday that former Chief Executive Officer John Varley, former chairman of investment banking for the Middle East Roger Jenkins, ex-wealth chief Thomas Kalaris, and Richard Boath, the former European head of the bank’s financial institutions group, face charges along with Barclays.
The four men are the most senior UK banking executives charged since the financial crisis, which forced many lenders to seek government bailouts and sparked a global recession. Barclays avoided a state rescue with a 12 billion-pound ($15 billion) fundraising from Qatari investors, but now faces charges relating to fees paid as part of the deal and a $3 billion loan facility made available to Qatar.
The case is one of a number of lingering investigations over the bank’s behaviour 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.
The London-based bank said it is “considering its position” in relation to the allegations. Barclays said that one of its main subsidiaries may also face additional charges in the case.
Varley and Jenkins face three counts of conspiracy to commit fraud and unlawful financial assistance. Boath and Kalaris each face one fraud count. A London court hearing is scheduled for July 3.
A lawyer for the 61-year-old Jenkins said his client will “vigorously defend against these charges.”
“As one might expect in the challenging circumstances of 2008, Mr. Jenkins sought and received both internal and external legal advice on each and every subject mentioned in the accusations levelled by the SFO today,” said Brad Kaufman, Jenkins’ U.S. based lawyer at Greenberg Traurig.
Lawyers for the other three defendants weren’t immediately available to comment.
Varley, 61, was appointed Barclays’s CEO in 2004 after starting his career at the bank in the 1980s. He presided over the lender during the 2008 financial crisis before handing the reigns to Bob Diamond in 2011.
Jenkins, who now lives in Malibu, worked most of his career at the lender in roles including running a structured capital markets business that developed tax arbitrage strategies for clients.