Former Barclays' banker Roger Jenkins arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London, Britain, January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Roger Jenkins, who was Barclays' rainmaker in the Middle East, negotiated the two capital calls © Reuters

Three former top bankers at Barclays will enter London’s Old Bailey on Monday for the start of their second jury trial over the bank’s arrangements with Qatar at the height of the financial crisis.

Roger Jenkins, Tom Kalaris and Richard Boath are charged with criminal offences following a Serious Fraud Office investigation dating back to 2012 that has cost millions of pounds in special taxpayer funds ringfenced by the Treasury.

All three face charges of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, as well as substantive fraud offences. They deny the charges, which carry a maximum 10-year sentence. 

John Varley, their co-defendant in a previous trial who was Barclays chief executive in 2008, was acquitted in June following a hearing in the Court of Appeal. 

Mr Varley was the world’s first chief executive of a large bank to face a jury over events during the financial crisis. The Court of Appeal upheld an acquittal by the first trial judge on the basis that Mr Varley did not have a case to answer because the SFO had not brought sufficient evidence against him.

Barclays turned to Qatar and other investors twice in 2008 to stave off government control, even as other high street rivals were bailed out. It undertook two emergency cash calls that year, in June and October, raising a total of £11.8bn.

But the SFO alleges that £322m worth of side deals with Qatari investors — including the prime minister of the Gulf state at the time, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani — were not properly disclosed to the market.

The SFO originally also charged Barclays itself, including with unlawful financial assistance by providing Qatar with a $3bn loan just as a second round of fundraising from the Gulf state was closing. Those charges were dropped last year before trial.

Mr Jenkins, once the bank’s rainmaker in the Middle East who negotiated the two capital calls, has been charged in relation to the fundraisings. Mr Kalaris, who led the bank’s wealth division, and Mr Boath, the former European head of the financial institutions group of Barclays’ investment bank, have been charged only in relation to the June fundraising.

While the case is a retrial, the setting and presiding judge have changed, with Mr Justice Popplewell replacing Mr Justice Jay, and the Old Bailey, the UK’s most well-known criminal court, replacing Southwark Crown Court, the more common venue for white-collar cases.

Jury selection for the trial, which is slated to run into next year, could take about a week, after which the defendants will officially enter their pleas as the trial starts.

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