Barclays faces SFO probe over Qatar payments

Tim Wallace
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THE SERIOUS Fraud Office (SFO) is investigating payments between Qatar and Barclays, the bank confirmed yesterday.

Barclays said it is complying with the fraud squad’s probe, which is in its early stages.

The SFO investigation is separate to the Financial Services Authority’s (FSA) inquiry that began in July, which relates to fees paid to the Qatar Investment Authority on deals in June and November 2008, when Barclays raised £11.5bn.

The SFO probe differs as it is examining the bank, rather than the bank plus four individuals.

Qatar Holding, the entity involved in the investigation, is a unit of the Qatar Investment Authority, which is the largest shareholder in Barclays with a 6.65 per cent stake.

Meanwhile Barclays announced it has appointed former Deloitte partner Russell Collins as deputy to Anthony Salz in reviewing the culture at the bank.

Established in the wake of the Libor scandal, Salz has wide-ranging powers to speak with staff and review evidence, enabling him to write a new code of conduct for staff before the next annual general meeting in April.

They will be assisted by professional services firm the Boston Consulting Group, who advise on practices and strategy.

Barclays deputy chairman Sir Michael Rake said the new appointments are proof that the bank is “ensuring that the review is undertaken with independent leadership, expertise and resources.”