Barclays faces £50m fine from City watchdog

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  • Barclays approached Qatari investors to raise over £7bn in 2008.
  • FCA says the bank did not disclose the fee it paid Qatar to participate in the fundraiser
  • Barclay’s behavior was called “reckless and dishonorable” at the time.

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Barclays faces a £50 million fine from the city’s watchdog for failing to disclose payments it made to Qatari investors. during the financial crash of 2008.

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The banking giant turned to investors in Qatar and Abu Dhabi at the height of the crisis to raise more than £7bn and maintain its independence from the UK government.

But Barclays did not disclose that it “paid out hundreds of millions of pounds to some Qatari investors to bring in new capital,” FCA chief executive Mark Steward said today.

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Barclays, which is contesting the fine, was charged with “reckless” behavior in 2008.

“Barclays’ failure to disclose these matters was reckless and lacking in good faith and follows an earlier refusal to disclose fees paid to Qatari investors in June 2008,” he added.

“There was no legitimate reason or justification for not disclosing these matters, certainly no reason to do so because of the financial crisis.”

Barclays disputes the FCA’s findings, and the regulator’s fine must now be reviewed by the Superior Tribunal, an independent body that hears appeals.

The bank has faced several fundraising lawsuits in Qatar, including from financier Amanda Staveley, who sued Barclays for £660m.

The FCA said Barclays paid one Qatari entity a total of £322 million under two “consultancy agreements” with investors.

Barclays disclosed the details of the June agreement, but did not announce the October agreement. He also did not disclose the payment to shareholders.

“These payments were calculated specifically based on the financial needs of the Qataris to invest in capital raising, and not the cost of advisory services that Barclays expected to receive under the agreements,” the FCA added.

A spokesman for Barclays said: “Barclays has referred the findings of the Regulatory Decision Committee to the Supreme Tribunal for rehearing.”

Three former Barclays bosses, including former chief executive John Varley, have been embroiled in a High Court litigation over allegations that they secretly paid Qataris in exchange for billions of pounds in investments to help the company raise capital during the financial crisis.

All three were acquitted in 2021.

In 2018, the Serious Fraud Office attempted to file charges against a lender for an emergency fundraiser from Qatar, but the charges were dismissed by the Royal Court and later by the High Court.

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