Barclays and four former executives are charged with fraud

IN 2008, as banks cracked on both sides of the Atlantic, Britain’s government prepared to shore up tottering lenders. It eventually poured £45bn ($71bn) into the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and £20.3bn into Lloyds, which ministers coaxed into buying the stricken HBOS. Barclays, however, needed no such help: the bank raised enough equity from private investors, notably in Qatar, to meet higher capital targets set by regulators as the crisis deepened, and thus escape a taxpayer rescue.However, for five years Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has been investigating Barclays’ dealings with the Qataris. On June 20th those inquiries yielded criminal charges. These include (remarkably, some will say) the first such charges to be levelled at the head of a big international bank as a result of the crisis. John Varley is a pillar of London’s financial establishment. Save for one short break he spent 28 years at Barclays, more than six in the top job, before standing down...Continue reading

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