Tuesday 28 January 2020 6:13 pm

‘Pack of cards would have started to tumble’ if Barclays failed to secure Qatar cash, court hears

Barclays would have been left in a dire position if it had failed to get Qatar to commit to two multi-billion pound financial crisis fundraisings, the Old Bailey heard today.

A barrister for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) today began the closing argument for the prosecution in the landmark trial of three senior former Barclays bankers accused of fraud for their role in the bank’s emergency crisis cash calls.

Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris and Richard Boath have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and fraud by false representation in connection with the 2008 fundraisings – which they deny.

Edward Brown QC, for the SFO, said that if the market knew the true level of commission Barclays was paying to Qatar for more than £4bn in emergency cash it could have seriously dented confidence in the bank. 

“The true position…was that one core investor was being paid more to invest,” he said.

Brown said the extra payment to Qatar was crucial in the defendant’s push to “prop up the bank”.

In the first fundraising, Barclays declared commission of 1.5 per cent in its prospectus, but had agreed a fee of 3.25 per cent with Qatar.

The SFO alleged that the trio cooked up a phoney advisory services agreement (ASA) to pay Qatar the extra fees it demanded for its participation.

Brown said if the real rate of commission had been disclosed to the market or the fundraising had failed, confidence in Barclays would have nosedived as the financial crisis raged.

“The pack of cards would have started to tumble,” Brown said.

Brown said the bankers knew that “they had to get the Qataris home” to salvage the bank and their jobs within it. 

“The continued existence and success of the bank was crucial” Brown said, to the defendants keeping “their jobs, their pay and their salaries”.

Closing arguments in the case started today and are expected to last eight to 10 days.

The trial continues.

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