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Courts Barclays Bank charged over loan to Qatar

THE Serious Fraud Office (SFO) charged Barclays Bank today over a £2.2 billion loan it provided to Qatar as part of its emergency fundraising during the financial crash of 2008.

It extends a charge brought against parent firm Barclays plc for “unlawful financial assistance” last June.

At the time, the SFO had not decided whether to charge the bank unit over the loan as well, but has now charged it with the same offence.

Barclays said in a statement that both Barclays and Barclays Bank “intend to defend the respective charges brought against them.”

The SFO said a date for the first court appearance will be set “in due course.”

The charge relates to a loan provided by Barclays Bank to Qatar Holding for the purpose of acquiring shares in its holding company, Barclays plc.

The emergency fundraising at the centre of the SFO case meant Barclays avoided a government bailout, unlike rivals Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Barclays raised £11.8bn from state-backed Qatari investors, as well as Abu Dhabi royals and investors from Singapore.

A five-year-long SFO investigation into the fundraising culminated in the decision to bring charges against the bank and its former executives last summer.

It marked the first such criminal charges to be brought in Britain for activities during the financial crisis.

Barclays plc, its former chief executive John Varley and former senior officials Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris and Richard Boath are due to stand trial at Southwark Crown Court in January 2019.

Shadow security minister Nick Thomas-Symonds called on the Attorney General today to demand increased core funding for the SFO to help it “carry out its vital work” following the Barclays investigation.

He added that SFO relying on “blockbuster funding and temporary surges in staff” prevents it working consistently over the long-term.

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