Barclays could face prosecution after judge derides £190m settlement offer

 
Marion Dakers
BARCLAYS is nervously awaiting the outcome of a legal case in the US today that could leave the banking group facing criminal charges over payments linked to countries barred from trading with the States.

A federal judge, who will decide whether to accept Barclays’ $298m (£190m) offer to
settle the case, called the bank’s agreement “a sweetheart deal” in court yesterday and asked: “Why isn’t the government getting rough with these banks?”

District Judge Emmet Sullivan has scheduled a hearing for today to decide whether to approve the deferred prosecution agreement between Barclays and US prosecutors.

The case relates to transactions worth about $500m made between 1995 and 2006, where Barclays masked money coming into the US from countries including Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Myanmar.

Barclays has accepted and acknowledged its actions, which prosecutors say were in breach of the Trading with the Enemy Act and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

Credit Suisse, Lloyds TSB and ABN AMRO have all settled similar cases in recent months.

It is the second time in a week Obama’s government has suffered criticism over deals cut with banks, after a judge refused to settle Citigroup’s $75m case concerning subprime mortgages on Monday.