Barclays Won’t Face Criminal Charges Over Qatar Fundraising

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. prosecutors lost a bid to reinstate criminal charges against Barclays Plc over a 12 billion-pound ($15.4 billion) capital raising from Qatar at the height of the financial crisis in 2008.

A court in London issued the ruling Friday after a week of hearings on the Serious Fraud Office’s request. The ruling is good news for Barclays because any conviction of the operating unit could hurt the lender’s ability to do business globally.

A lower court had dismissed two charges of “conspiring with certain former senior officers and employees of Barclays to commit fraud,” Barclays said in May. The court then also tossed out two charges of unlawful financial assistance, one against the bank and another against its holding company, in relation to a $3 billion loan provided to Qatar at the time.

“The High Court has today denied the SFO’s application to reinstate in respect of all of the charges,” the bank said in a statement. “As a result, all of the charges remain dismissed.”

The decision is a rare win for a U.K. defendant seeking to throw out charges, as judges typically give prosecutors great deference.

The SFO said in a statement that it “believes it was right to bring this to the attention of the High Court.”

Case Against Executives

At the heart of the case are two advisory services agreements with Qatar Holding LLC in 2008 totaling 322 million pounds.

Four former executives from the bank still face charges over the Qatar deal, which allowed Barclays to avoid a state bailout during the financial crisis. The trial against the individuals is scheduled to begin in January.

The bank said it also faces a civil lawsuit related to the Qatar fundraising, filed by PCP Capital Partners.

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