Shares in Barclays (LON:BARC) have dipped into the red this morning, underperforming the broader UK market, as the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) charged the lender and some of its former executives in relation to the group’s fundraising during the financial crisis. The FTSE 100 lender turned to Qatari investors in 2008 to avoid a taxpayer-funded bailout.
As of 08:23 BST, Barclays’ share price had lost 0.46 percent to 205.80p, underperforming the benchmark FTSE 100 index which has climbed into positive territory and is currently 0.25 percent better off at 7,542.51 points. The group’s shares have added more than 16 percent to their value over the past year, but are down by nearly eight percent in the year-to-date.
The SFO announced in a statement this morning that it had charged Barclays with conspiracy to commit fraud and the provision of unlawful financial assistance contrary to the Companies Act 1985. The charges relate to the group’s capital raising arrangements with Qatar Holding and Challenger Universal, which took place in June and October 2008, and a $3 billion loan facility made available to the State of Qatar acting through the Ministry of Economy and Finance in November 2008. In addition to Barclays, the SFO also charged the group’s former boss John Varley and three former colleagues – Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris and Richard Boath.
The Telegraph notes in its coverage of the news that the move marks the first time criminal charges have been brought against either a bank or top executives over events during the 2008 crisis.
Barclays said in a statement that it was “considering its position in relation to these developments,” and that it was awaiting further details on the charges. The lender and its former executives are due to appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on July 3.