Barclays in Hot Water: The Qatar Connection

Qatar has been making waves for some weeks now, and in the deluge, it has also strung along a few companions. One is the UK bank Barclays, which prided itself for having avoided a government bailout in the financial crisis of 2008.  In the ensuing chest thumping, executives could claim to have spared the British taxpayer the need to fork out for private deals gone wrong.

In a statement by the bank, it was revealed that the UK Serious Fraud Office had filed charges “in the context of Barclays’ capital raisings in June and November 2008.” The statement from the bank continues to note how it “awaits further details of the charges from the SFO.”

The charges relate to three alleged offences constituting what has been termed financial assistance – effectively, a bank loaning itself money via its own investing instruments. The first two charges assert that former senior officers and employees of Barclays had committed fraud by false representations regarding two advisory service agreements entered into with Qatar Holding LLC. The third centres on a claim of unlawful financial assistance from a loan from the State of Qatar in November 2008.

The aftermath of the 2008 crisis did much to give capitalism – at least of the bankster variant – a blackened name.  This was made even more acute by the mild response from authorities indifferent to culpability in the banking system.  Rotten financial decisions did not necessary entail rotten criminality. …

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