Barclays faces new charge over 2008 Qatar rescue

Posted February 12, 2018 4:14 a.m. EST

— Prosecutors have filed a new charge against Barclays Bank over cash injections from Qatar that helped rescue it during the global financial crisis.

The U.K.'s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) accused the bank of "unlawful financial assistance" over a multi-billion investment made by Qatar's sovereign wealth fund at the height of the financial crisis in 2008.

The SFO filed related charges against parent company Barclays and several former executives including ex-CEO John Varley in June 2017.

The new charge, which targets the operating bank, opens Barclays to potential penalties including the loss of licenses it needs to conduct business.

The bank said it would defend itself in a trial scheduled for early next year.

"Barclays does not expect there to be an impact on its ability to serve its customers and clients as a consequence of the charge having been brought," it said in a statement.

Barclays has long been dogged over its handling of investments by Qatar's sovereign wealth fund and a group of investors, which helped it avoid a taxpayer bailout as the global financial system crumbled.

Accepting government support would likely have meant increased oversight and scrutiny over executive pay.

Shortly after the 2008 investments were made, Barclays made a $3 billion loan facility available to Qatar, according to the SFO.

The Qatar Investment Authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Barclays shares were 0.3% higher in London, trailing most other banks in Europe.