Three senior former Barclays executives were today accused of lying about disguised payments to Qatar to facilitate a massive investment in the bank at the height of the financial crisis.
The three senior former executives – Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris and Richard Boath – are standing trial at the Old Bailey on fraud charges.
The trio have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and fraud by false representation in connection with the fundraisings – which they deny.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) alleges that the three used phoney advisory services agreements to hide undeclared payments made to Qatar to induce two investments in the bank.
“Telling lies in this way, say the prosecution, is a criminal offence,” Edward Brown, prosecuting for the SFO, said.
“It is committing fraud by false representations. They acted dishonestly, say the prosecution, in order to preserve the future of the bank and to preserve their own positions.”
The Qataris made an investment of £1.9bn into Barclays in June 2008 and a second of £2.05bn in November 2008 as the bank sought to avoid a government bailout.
The Qataris asked for greater levels of commission than paid to other participants in the fundraisings.
The prosecution alleged that the trio cooked up the two advisory services agreements, which were worth £322m, to funnel the extra fees to Qatar.
The SFO said that the three men knew that the public prospectuses for the fundraisings therefore contained lies about the real position related to Qatar.
Former Barclays finance director Chris Lucas was also named by the SFO as part of the conspiracy but is too ill to face prosecution.
The trio pleaded not guilty to the charges on Monday and their lawyers are expected to start their defence next week.
Barclays’ former chief executive John Varley was acquitted of fraud charges in relation to the fundraising at an earlier trial.
Jenkins, Kalaris and Boath then faced a retrial.
The trial is the most significant prosecution related to the financial crisis and a key test for the SFO.
It is expected to last four-to-six months.
The trial continues.