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Serious Fraud Office charges against Barclays dismissed

Serious Fraud Office charges against Barclays dismissed

The Serious Fraud Office’s five-year investigation into Barclays' refinancing during the global financial crisis ground to a halt today (21 May) after a court dismissed the charges against the bank.

In a statement to the stock exchange, Barclays confirmed the charges against the company of conspiring with certain of its employees to commit fraud by misrepresentation in relation to the refinancing of the company, partly by investors from Qatar, at the height of the financial crisis, have been dropped.

The court also dismissed charges Barclays had engaged in an illegal act by lending money to the Qatar’s at the same time as the latter were buying its shares.

The case centered on funding Barclays received from Qatari investors at the height of the financial crisis.

This funding was used as an alternative to receiving a bail out from the UK government, which is what happened to Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group.

The Serious Fraud Office alleged Barclays lent the Qatari investors the money to buy Barclays shares, which is a crime, and that other payments were made, and not disclosed to the market.  

Barclays said it expects the Serious Fraud Office to appeal the decision of the court.

The company added the decision of the court today is in relation to Barclays as a business, and that ongoing criminal proceedings against certain individuals including its former chief executive John Varley, are not directly impacted by today’s announcement.

David.Thorpe@ft.com