SFO charges Barclays Bank

Barclays HQ

The Qatari investors included Qatar Holding, which is part of the state's sovereign wealth fund, and an investment of the former prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani.

After a five-year investigation into the events surrounding the cash call, the action by the SFO last summer marked the first criminal charges to be brought in the United Kingdom against a bank and its former executives for activities during the financial crisis. Public companies are normally prohibited in the United Kingdom from lending money for the purchase of their own shares, a process known as financial assistance.

'Further to that announcement, the SFO has today charged Barclays Bank with the same offence'.

In order to avoid asking the United Kingdom government for a taxpayer bailout, Barclays raised nearly £12bn from investors in the Middle East, including the Qatari state sovereign wealth fund, to help it weather the storm.

Barclays shares shrugged off the news, rising 1 percent to 194.9 pence by 0930 GMT, helped by a broader market rebound from last week's losses, and UBS raising its price target for the stock to 225 pence from 220 pence.

Barclays' core banking business has been charged by the Serious Fraud Office over its fundraising deal with Qatar at the height of the financial crisis, adding to the charges already brought against the parent holding company and four former executives. They were also charged with conspiracy to commit fraud.

Qatar, which is a major United Kingdom investor, has not been accused of wrongdoing.

The bank was understood to have been in talks with the SFO about making a deal to avoid the charges, since they could affect the bank's ability to operate globally.

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