Barclays bank, fraud, bankers

Barclays bank, along with several high profile bankers have been arrested on fraud charges.

John Varley, the former boss of Barclays faces a maximum 22 year prison sentence after he and three other ex-directors of the lender became the first British bankers to face penalties for actions taken during the financial crisis.

The arrest comes after an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office accused the bank, along with several high profile bankers, of committing fraud. They are also suspected of engaging in unlawful financial assistance over its dealings with Qatari investors, including former prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, in 2008 when Britain’s banking system was on the verge of collapse.

The investigation marks the first time the head of a global bank has faced criminal charges for activities during that period.

Barclays bank was charged on three counts including conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and unlawful financial assistance over its arrangements with Qatari investors who invested £6.1 billion into Barclays in June and October 2008.

The case against Barclays was brought because of the side deals with the investors, which were part of the cash infusions and not fully disclosed to the market. The two fundraising deals allowed the bank to remain independent of the government at a time when two of its biggest British rivals, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group, had to accept taxpayer money.

Other bankers that were charged in connection with the case are Roger Jenkins, who led the Middle Eastern business in Barclays; Thomas Kalaris, who led its wealth division; and Richard Boath, the ex-head of its financial institutions group, with conspiracy to commit fraud in the June fundraise.

If convicted, Barclays could get fined and the men could face up to 10 years in prison, while the unlawful financial assistance charge carries a possible two year term.

Both Mr Jenkins’ lawyer and Mr Boath said they intend to “ to vigorously defend against these charges”.

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