The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is set to delay its charging decision over Barclays’ (LON:BARC) emergency fundraising during the financial crisis, Bloomberg has revealed. The news comes after reports suggested last week that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had relaunched a probe into the October 2008 cash call which saw the FTSE 100 lender turn to investors from Qatar and Abu Dhabi and avoid a state-funded bailout.
Barclays’ share price has inched higher in London this morning, having added 0.13 percent to 227.60p as of 09:21 BST, largely in line with gains in the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.08 percent higher at 7,379.61 points. The group’s shares have gained just under 50 percent over the past year, as compared with about a 19-percent rise in the Footsie.
Sources with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg last night that the SFO had sent letters to several former Barclays executives in the last week informing them it will decide on whether to file charges over the 2008 cash call by the end of May. The watchdog had previously told a London court that it would make a decision by the end of March.
The decision will follow a five-year investigation into two ‘advisory services agreements’ worth £322 million which the FTSE 100 lender committed to pay the Qatar Investment Authority during the 2008 financial crisis. At the time, the sovereign wealth fund joined a two-stage £12-billion fundraising to help Barclays avoid a taxpayer-funded bailout, with the move raising questions about the service agreements.
The news comes after the FCA recently reopened a probe into the emergency cash call, despite having already come to an early determination back in 2013 that the bank had failed to disclose arrangements and fees it paid to Qatari investors at the time.