Barclays won't face trial on Qatar deal

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) lost its bid today to reinstate charges against Barclays over a Qatar loan it made at the height of the financial crisis. The decision means Barclays will avoid the prospect of a highly visible jury trial over its actions.

The SFO had sought to prosecute the company for two offences of conspiring to commit fraud by false representations regarding advisory services agreements with Qatar Holding during the global financial crisis. The SFO may be able to appeal to the Supreme Court but that option... "As a result, all of the charges remain dismissed".

Excluding litigation and conduct, however, Barclays pre-tax profit increased by 23% to £5.27bn, boosted by an improvement in credit impairment charges, recoveries in wholesale banking and portfolio adjustments that were affected by the new IFRS 9 accounting standards, and a reduction in operating expenses.

The SFO alleged the loan was used either directly, or indirectly, to buy shares in Barclays, which the SFO said was "unlawful financial assistance".

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Former chief executive John Varley will stand trial alongside then-senior executives Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris and Richard Boath.

The bank still faces probes from the US Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission. "Other authorities have also been kept informed of developments in these matters".

Barclays is also facing a civil claim, which it is defending, from financier Amanda Staveley's PCP Capital Partners, over a capital injection she helped arrange from Abu Dhabi.

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