Barclays share price: Criminal probe to last at least seven more months
Barclays (LON:BARC) will not learn for at least seven more months whether it will face criminal charges over its financial arrangements with Qatar at the height of the financial crisis, the Financial Times has reported. Unlike FTSE 100 peers Lloyds Banking Group (LON:LLOY) and Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:RBS), which were bailed out by the UK taxpayer, Barclays turned to investors from Qatar and Abu Dhabi in October 2008 as financial markets roiled from Lehman Brothers’ historic bankruptcy.
Barclays’ share price has surged in today’s session, outperforming the broader London market, with hawkish minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting fuelling demand for financial stocks. As of 14:33 BST, the lender’s shares were changing hands 1.23 percent higher at 172.50p. The group’s shares have lost over a third of their value over the past year, and are down by about a fifth in the year-to-date.
The FT reported today that a barrister for Barclays had told the High Court that the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) hoped to make a charging decision about the bank in ‘early 2017’. The announcement was made during a hearing in a civil case brought against the bank by PCP, the firm founded by Amanda Staveley, which is suing the bank over payments to Qatari investors in relation to an emergency cash call in October 2008.
The lawsuit is linked to the SFO probe which started nearly four years ago and is looking into whether the FTSE 100 group made inadequate or misleading statements to the market about its arrangements with Qatari investors as part of the fundraising.
Reuters noted that Barclays had asked the court today to postpone the civil case until the SFO concluded its criminal investigation, arguing that it risked being accused of perverting the course of justice by re-interviewing suspects facing parallel SFO inquiry.
“Barclays considers the claim (by PCP) to be misconceived, but Barclays cannot be expected to defend the claim with one – or indeed both – hands tied behind its back,” the bank said in court documents, as quoted by the newswire. Reuters further reported that PCP had labelled the lender’s argument a “misconceived and cynical attempt” to avoid responding to “grave and serious” allegations.
As of 15:13 BST, Thursday, 19 May, Barclays share price is 173.60p.
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