The High Court has refused an attempt by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to re-instate charges against the bank for alleged unlawful dealings with Qatar at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.
The SFO had charged the bank with ‘unlawful financial assistance’ relating to billions of pounds raised from Qatar at the time of the financial crisis.
But the charges were dismissed earlier this year by Southwark Crown Court with no explanation being given.
The SFO said immediately that it would appeal the decision and took the matter to the High Court, seeking to prosecute Barclays for two offences of trying to commit fraud by false representations regarding a loan deal with the Middle East country.
But the High Court upheld the earlier ruling where all charges were dismissed against both the bank and its owner, Barclays plc. If Barclays had been found guilty in any trial it could have lost its banking licence.
Despite the second dismissal the SFO said ‘it was right to bring this to the attention of the High Court’.
The bank said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange: “Barclays announces that the High Court has today denied the SFO’s application to reinstate in respect of all of the charges. As a result, all of the charges remain dismissed.”
However, four former Barclays executives still face charges over the affair. They are: former chief executive John Varley, former senior investment banker Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris, a former chief executive of Barclays’ wealth division, and Richard Boath, the ex-European head of financial institutions.
Their trial is scheduled to start next year.
The court action followed a five year investigation into the re-financing of Barclays Bank at the time of the global financial crisis.
While other high street banks like Lloyds and RBS were bailed out by the government in multi-billion pound rescue deals, Barclays re-financed itself with a £12 billion loan from Qatar Holdings, which is owned by the state of Qatar.
As part of the deal, Barclays re-lent £2.3 billion back to Qatar Holdings. The SFO alleges that money was then used to buy shares in Barclays – an action known as ‘unlawful financial assistance.’