Four former Barclays Bank senior bosses have been accused of disguising and hiding £322 million payment during 2008 financial crisis. The Serious Fraud Office have charged John Varley and Roger Jenkins with conspiracy to commit fraud. The other executives charged are Thomas Kalaris and Richard Boath and all four appeared in Southwark Crown Court in London after an investigation into the bank finding financial alternatives to a government bailout following the financial global crisis in 2008.
Edward Brown QC for the prosecution told the jury that by the summer of 2008, Barclays were under extreme pressure to raise capital and secure the banks financial position. He said: “Those at the top of Barclay’s were very anxious to avoid accepting government money, thereby placing itself under greater government control and scrutiny. It is no exaggeration to say that Barclays future as an independent bank was in jeopardy in September and October of 2008.”
The jury heard that the €322 million sum was paid by the bank in fees after investments from Qatar Investment Authority were made to Barclays to “shore up their capital base”. Mr Brown said: “In this case, in addition to the amounts which Barclays revealed that is was paying to the investors in the public-facing documents, additional commission fees for investing were paid to the Qataris that were not paid to other investors and were not revealed. It is the hiding of these additional commission fees which lies at the heart of this case and the conspiracies alleged against the defendants, disguising and hiding extra fees to the tune, ultimately, of a total of nearly a third of a billion pounds.”
The case is the first brought against bankers in the UK in relation to the 2008 financial crisis. The trial is expected to the last at least six months and all four deny the charges.
The Financial Crisis of 2008
The financial crisis of 2008, also known as the global financial crisis and the 2008 financial crisis, is considered by many economists to have been the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It began in 2007 with a crisis in the subprime mortgage market in the United States and developed into a full-blown international banking crisis. Excessive risk-taking by the banks such as Lehman Brothers helped to magnify the financial impact globally. Massive bail-outs of financial institutions were employed to prevent a collapse of the world financial system. The crisis caused a global economic downturn, the great recession and the European debt crisis.