Barclays faces trial over $3 billion Qatar loan

Reuters

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London, Feb 12 Britain's Serious Fraud Office today charged a unit of Barclays over alleged fraud linked to emergency fundraising from Qatar during the financial crisis a decade ago, the bank said.

The same charge was made against the bank's holding company last June, but it is the operating unit that is licensed for banking operations, meaning any conviction could also prompt sanctions from regulators. Barclays Bank has now been charged with the same offence.

Barclays PLC and Barclays Bank PLC intend to defend the respective charges brought against them.

Barclays says it "does not expect there to be an impact on its ability to serve its customers".

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Barclays pulled off an £11.8 billion 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.

The charges centre on investments secured from Qatari investors in 2008 as the banking sector went into meltdown.

It was the first bank to face criminal charges over actions taken during the crisis.

Under that deal Barclays loaned £2.3bn back to Qatar Holdings and it is that part of the transaction that the charge of unlawful financial assistance is related to.

Following a five-year investigation into the deal with Qatar Holdings, the SFO in June charged Barclays PLC and several former executives with conspiracy to commit fraud.

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