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The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has issued criminal charges against Barclays Bank for “unlawful financial assistance” over a $3bn (£2.2bn) loan given to the State of Qatar in 2008.
The same charges were bought against the parent company, Barclays PLC, in June last year, However, the fraud watchdog has now decided to extend the charges to the Bank itself.
In order to avoid asking the UK government for a taxpayer bailout, Barclays reportedly raised almost £12bn from investors in the Middle East, including the Qatari state sovereign wealth fund. Under the deal, Barclays loaned £2.3bn back to Qatar Holdings. This, the SFO alleges, was used either directly, or indirectly, to buy shares in Barclays.
Both Barclays PLC and Barclays Bank have said that they intend to defend the charges. The group has stated: “Barclays does not expect there to be an impact on its ability to serve its customers and clients as a consequence of the charge having been brought.”