The UK's fraud watchdog has today hefted a new charge onto Barclays Bank, in relation to an emergency fundraising it conducted in the summer of 2008.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) today charged Barclays with giving "unlawful financial assistance", after it raised £4.5bn in June 2008 and £7.3bn that October from investors including Qatar Holding and Challenger Universal.
The SFO alleges that Barclays gave Qatar Holding an illegal $3bn (£2.2bn) loan "for the purpose of directly or indirectly acquiring shares in Barclays". Under the Companies Act, it is unlawful for banks to lend money to themselves.
Criminal charges have already been brought against Barclays and four former executives in relation to the fundraise, with trial dates set for 2019. The SFO charged Barclays, its former chief executive John Varley, and executives Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris and Richard Boath last year with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.
Barclays, Varley and Jenkins were also already accused of giving unlawful financial assistance.
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.
Meanwhile PCP Capital Partners, the investment firm founded by Amanda Staveley, is suing Barclays for up to £1.2bn in relation to crucial capital raisings. PCP claims it should have received fees from Barclays for the role it played in advising Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who contributed more than £3bn to the raise which helped the bank avoid a taxpayer bailout.
Barclays managed to postpone the case, which was set to go to trial in January, as it believed it could prejudice the SFO probe.