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2017-07-03 18:53:02
Former Barclays Executives Appear in Court Over Qatar Deal

LONDON — A group of former Barclays executives appeared in a London court on Monday to answer charges that they conspired to misrepresent arrangements made with the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar in 2008, as the bank raised capital to help it weather the financial crisis.

British prosecutors charged the lender and four former executives — including a former chief executive, John S. Varley — last month, the first criminal charges to be brought in Britain against a bank over its actions during the financial crisis. The men charged are among the most senior bank managers anywhere in the world to face trial in a financial crisis-era case.

The investigation is among several that Barclays faces over its 2008 actions, when it raised $15 billion from Qatar and other investors with two capital infusions, in June 2008 and in October 2008. That allowed it to avoid a government bailout, unlike several British rivals.

The five-year inquiry by the Serious Fraud Office of Britain has revolved around whether Barclays properly disclosed an agreement with Qatar in which it paid more than 300 million pounds, or $390 million at current exchange rates, for “advisory services” as part of the fund-raising, and around a $3 billion loan facility that Barclays made available to the Qatari government in November 2008.

Barclays, Mr. Varley and the other former executives — Roger A. Jenkins, Thomas L. Kalaris and Richard W. Boath — have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation related to the June 2008 capital raising.

The bank, along with Mr. Varley and Mr. Jenkins, both 61, has also been charged with providing unlawful financial assistance and an additional conspiracy count related to the October 2008 capital raising.

Lawyers for Mr. Varley and Jenkins said that their clients intended to plead not guilty. Mr. Boath has previously denied wrongdoing, as has the bank. A lawyer for Mr. Kalaris declined to comment after Monday’s hearing.

The men were released on bail on Monday after a brief hearing in Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Mr. Kalaris, who is American but lives in London, and Mr. Jenkins, who lives in California, will be required to put up £500,000 in security as part of their bail.

Mr. Jenkins was executive chairman of investment banking and investment management in the Middle East and North Africa at Barclays Capital at the time of the fund-raising, and he played a central role in helping to arrange it.

Mr. Kalaris, also 61, was the chief executive of Barclays Wealth and Investment Management. Mr. Boath, 58, was the European head of Barclays’ Financial Institutions Group.

The inquiry is one of a number of regulatory issues that have plagued Barclays in recent years.

The bank paid $450 million in penalties over accusations it helped manipulate the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, and its American chief executive, Robert E. Diamond Jr., subsequently resigned.

In December, the United States Justice Department sued the bank, accusing it of fraudulently misleading the public in the sale of tens of billions of dollars in securities backed by home mortgages. Barclays has said the claims are “disconnected from the facts” and has vowed to “vigorously defend” itself.

In April, the bank disclosed that James E. Staley, the current chief executive, was being investigated by the British authorities after he sought to learn the identity of a whistle-blower. Mr. Staley has apologized for his handling of the matter.

In addition to the fraud office, the Financial Conduct Authority of Britain, the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating the bank’s 2008 fund-raising.

The British financier Amanda Staveley has separately sued Barclays over the capital raising, saying the bank improperly favored the Qataris in the deal and cost her firm nearly $1 billion in potential profit.