BARCLAYS was yesterday charged with unlawfully lending $3billion (£2.2billion) to Qatari investors so they could buy shares in the bank.
The practice, known as financial assistance, is alleged to have taken place at the height of the banking crisis and meant Barclays did not have to seek a government bailout.
The same charge was made against holding company, Barclays PLC, last June, but it is the operating arm, Barclays Bank PLC, that is licensed for banking and could face sanctions if convicted. Chief executive Jes Staley is already under scrutiny by regulators over attempts to unmask a whistleblower.
The company said Barclays PLC and Barclays Bank PLC will defend themselves against all the charges.
A loan to Qatar in November 2008 could have broken the law if the Serious Fraud Office can show it was connected with Qatari payments to Barclays. The SFO said a date for a court appearance will be set in due course. Two former top executives also face a charge of unlawful financial assistance.
The trial of Barclays PLC and four former top executives on a separate charge of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation when they negotiated a capital injection for the bank from Qatar, is due to start next year.
Qatar, which is a major UK investor, has not been accused of wrongdoing.
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