Investigators probing the deal that Barclay’s senior executives made with its Middle East investors for rescuing it during the financial crisis of 2018 have discovered that they paid secret fees amounting to £322 million. The accused executives who are now on trial on the basis of a complaint filed by Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud for accepting £11.8 billion from a consortium of investors from Qatar. The defendants namely John Varkey, Roger Jenkins, Richard Boath and Thomas Kalaris have all pleaded not guilty of the charges.
During the trial that started this week the prosecution lawyer Edward Brown told the crown court of Southwark that the Barclays bank was under severe stress during the sub-prime crisis of 2008-07 and would have come under government control if it accepted rescue package from UK government so it decided to take money from private investors. The prosecutor Edward Brown added that Barclay’s future as an independent entity was in jeopardy during Sept-Oct of 2008 and it first received around £ 4 billion from Qatar Investment Authority and Qatar Holding in 2008. The bank in exchange for the rescue package paid fees to Qatar as additional commissions that were concealed in agreements.
The investigators revealed that these commissions were paid through agreements that were described as Advisory Service Agreements which amounted to more than double the figure which is paid as fees to other bank investors. These agreements revealed that the investors from Qatar drove a hard bargain for the rescue plan. Though several junior bank officials in Europe and US were jailed, tried and even dismissed from service for their explicit and alleged role in the financial crisis of 2008, this is the first time that senior executive level bankers are being charged with criminal conspiracy.