Barclays share price: Bank in talks with SFO over Qatar probe

Group seeks to avoid charges for operating company

Barclays share price: Bank in talks with SFO over Qatar probe

Barclays (LON:BARC) is in talks with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over a possible deal to avoid new charges related to its Qatar fundraising in 2008, Bloomberg has reported. The blue-chip lender turned to Middle Eastern investors during the financial crisis, helping the company avoid a state-funded bailout.

Barclays’ share price has slipped marginally into the red this morning, having shed 0.12 percent to 204.25p as of 08:45 GMT. The shares are underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having climbed into positive territory and currently standing 0.19 percent higher at 7,550.98 points.

Talks with SFO

A source with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg yesterday that Barclays was in talks with the SFO over a possible deal to avoid new charges against one of its main operating units linked to the Qatar fundraising. The SFO’s decision whether to charge the unit – Barclays Bank Plc – is expected to be made by the end of January. The bank’s holding company and four former executives were charged with fraud and unlawful financial assistance in June with a trial scheduled for 2019.

Legal challenges

The SFO opened an investigation into the Qatar deal back in 2012, with a dozen senior executives interviewed across the five-year-probe. The fundraising is also being reviewed by the Financial Conduct Authority, which re-opened its probe earlier this year after additional documents came to light. The City watchdog had previously fined the bank £50 million over how the lender had disclosed the fees to the Qataris. 

Barclays additionally faces a civil lawsuit by Amanda Staveley who advised on the group’s multibillion-pound rescue, and who claims that had her client, Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, been offered the same terms as Qatar during the fundraising, her fee would have been £721 million higher. 

As of 09:17 GMT, Tuesday, 19 December, Barclays share price is 204.50p.

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