Barclays (LON:BARC) is set to hear within a fortnight whether it will face a second set of criminal fraud charges over its emergency 2008 cash call, the Financial Times has reported. The news comes after the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) recently charged the group over the cash call which saw Barclays turn to Qatari investors during the financial crisis and avoid a state-funded bailout.
Barclays’ share price has been little changed in London this morning, having inched 0.10 percent higher at 208.35p, slightly underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently 0.23 percent up at 7,367.70 points. The group’s shares have added just under 50 percent of their value over the past year, but have given up some six percent in the year-to-date.
The FT reported yesterday that the SFO was preparing to make a charging decision in respect of Barclays’ subsidiary, Barclays Bank. Sources with knowledge of the matter told the newspaper that they expected the decision within a fortnight. The agency has already charged Barclays’ parent company with two counts of fraud by false representation and one count of unlawful financial assistance over agreements it struck with Qatar during the financial crisis.
The FT noted, however, that a charge against Barclays’ subsidiary would be more problematic for the bank because it is at this operating level that banking licences and regulatory authorisations are issued, and that those are dependent on the financial regulator deeming the entity ‘fit and proper’. The SFO has reportedly instructed barristers specialising in banking law to help advise it on the decision.
Barclays is further facing a potential £1.2-billion hit from its legal battle with City dealmaker Amanda Staveley who advised on the fundraising. She is suing the group over the cash call, claiming that Barclays paid her too little commission.