Hello and welcome to the Fides Weekly Update. Take a look at this week’s key trends, moves and developments in legal and compliance.
1. SFO’s five year probe catches up with Barclays and it senior execs
Barclays is the first bank to face criminal charges in connection with steps taken during the 2008 financial crisis.
The Serious Fraud Office’s allegations, which are also directed at four former Barclays executives, concern funds raised from Qatari investors whilst the bank was attempting to stave off a government bailout.
In 2008, Barclays carried out two rounds of emergency fundraising in June and October, securing a total of £6.1bn of Qatari investment. The bank also made advisory services agreements (ASA) with Qatar in the same period, for which Barclays paid £322m for assistance in developing its services in the region. Following this, the bank gave out a loan to Qatar’s ministry of finance that amounted to $3bn just before the end of the second cash call.
Firstly, the SFO argues there was a lack of disclosure with some of the above exchanges, which led to charges on the conspiracy to commit fraud. In addition to this, the amount loaned back to Qatar seemed to match the total that the region initially invested into Barclays, which could indicate the bank was dealing in unlawful financial assistance.
The four executives involved in the allegations are: John Varley, former Barclays chief executive; Roger Jenkins, previously executive chairman of MENA investment banking and investment management; Thomas Kalaris, former head of the bank’s wealth and investment management arm, and Richard Boath, ex- European head of financial institutions group.
All four men have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation relating to the first cash call in June 2008. Moreover, Varley and Jenkins face a further count involving the second capital raising in October 2008.
These charges are announced following a five year-long probe by the SFO, whilst the Financial Conduct Authority has also been investigating the improper disclosure of the ASAs with Qatar since 2013. Barclays is yet to announce its position in the case as it remains to be seen whether the SFO will also charge the bank’s subsidiary Barclays Bank Plc.
This comes at an interesting time after the conservative manifesto promised the abolition of the SFO and absorption into the National Crime Agency. With such a high profile case being brought by the agency, it can only add to the controversy of this consolidation, as it is labelled as “crazy” and a “backwards step”, and fears it could impede the fight against complex fraud, bribery and corruption.
Movers & Shakers of the week
Former Team Sky lawyer Huss Fahmy has joined Arsenal Football Club, who will specialise in player contracts
Fried Frank obtains first London real estate offering having hired partners Darren Rogers and Patrick Williams from Ashurst
Taylor Wessing has hired partner François Mary from Latham & Watkins’ Paris office to join its French corporate practice
Five-strong marine team is set to join Clyde & Co from Eversheds Sutherland. The team includes head of shipping Stephen Mackin and shipping litigation partner Jessica Maitra.
Clifford Chance has hired New York corporate veterans Joseph Consentino and Alice Kane from Greenberg Traurig and Duane Morris respectively.
David Young departs his role as head of financial services for Maclay, Murray & Spens to join Pinsent Masons in its Edinburgh and London offices.
Office Openings & Closings