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SFO charges Barclays over £2.2bn Qatar loan

12 February 2018

The UK's Serious Fraud Office has charged Barclays bank over a $3 billion loan given to Qatar as part of an emergency fundraising plan at the height of the global financial crisis.

Shortly afterwards Barclays loaned $3bn (£2.2bn) to the State of Qatar.

The Bank's parent company, Barclays PLC, and several of the firm's former top executives were charged in connection with the same loan in June past year, but the SFO has now chose to extend the charges to the Bank itself. Under the Companies Act, it is unlawful for banks to lend money to themselves.

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It follows charges against the bank's holding company and four executives in June past year related to the same deal.

Barclays shares shrugged off the news, rising 1 percent to 194.9 pence by 0930 GMT, helped by a broader market rebound from last week's losses, and UBS raising its price target for the stock to 225 pence from 220 pence.

In 2008, to avoid a government bailout, Barclays took a £12bn loan from Qatar Holdings, which is owned by the state of Qatar.

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Two former top executives also face a charge of unlawful financial assistance.

Barclays former chief executive John Varley and ex-executives Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris, and Richard Boath have all been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud over a June 2008 bid to raise capital.

The move to charge Barclays Bank as well is significant because it holds the banking licence that allows it to operate in different countries.

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"However, it is negative that the group hasn't been able to settle a number of outstanding litigation issues, with outstanding litigation representing an unhelpful distraction to the management of the core franchise", the broker pointed out in a note to clients.

SFO charges Barclays over £2.2bn Qatar loan