More than a decade after Barclays turned to Middle Eastern investors for rescue funds during the financial crisis, a jury in London will on Wednesday begin hearing the case against the bank’s former chief executive and three senior colleagues, who stand accused of defrauding the market.
In what is the first jury trial in the world of a leading bank’s boss over actions taken during the 2008 crisis, a jury at Southwark Crown Court will hear the opening arguments of the Serious Fraud Office against John Varley, Barclays’ CEO until 2011, and three other defendants.
Barclays itself had been charged with unlawful financial assistance by providing Qatar a $3bn loan just as the second fundraising of 2008 was closing. But the bank’s corporate charges were scrubbed in a blow to the SFO, which has spent specially ringfenced taxpayer money investigating the case.
The four men face criminal charges of fraud by false representation brought by the SFO. It alleges that during two capital calls to raise a total of £11.8bn in 2008, side deals were struck with Qatar that were not properly disclosed to other investors or to the market, and which were a way of funnelling secret fees to the Qataris.
The four deny the charges, which carry a maximum 10-year sentence, and the trial is scheduled to last for as long as six months.
It has taken more than six years of investigation by the SFO to get to this point. Here are the key players among the accused, the lawyers and the witnesses:
Former Barclays chief executive
Mr Varley, 62, spent most of his career at Barclays, which he joined in 1982 after training as a lawyer. An archetypal English gent, he married into the bank as his ex-wife Carolyn is the daughter of Sir Richard Thorn Pease — a member of an old Quaker banking family that became part of Barclays in 1902. He worked his way up to become chief executive in 2004 and left in early 2011. He faces two counts of fraud by misrepresentation.
Former head of Barclays investment bank’s Middle East business
Mr Jenkins, 63, was a dealmaker who negotiated the two capital calls in 2008 and who had contacts in the Middle East as the investment bank’s regional executive chairman. As a student sprinter, Mr Jenkins represented Scotland and Great Britain and he is now a resident of Malibu in California. He faces two counts over the June 2008 fundraising, when the bank raised £4.5bn, and also over a second cash call in October of that year, which raised a further £7.3bn from investors from Qatar and Abu Dhabi.
Former head of Barclays’ wealth and investment management unit
American-born Mr Kalaris, 63, headed the bank’s wealth division and was the trusted lieutenant of Bob Diamond, Mr Varley’s eventual successor, at the time of the fundraisings. Mr Kalaris, a bond trader by training, stands accused of one count of fraud in relation to the June fundraising, when the bank turned to overseas investors, including from Qatar. Mr Kalaris, who left Barclays in 2013, is represented in court by Ian Winter QC.
Former European head of Barclays investment bank’s financial institutions group
Mr Boath, 60, the former European head of the investment bank’s financial institutions group, held the most junior role of the defendants at the time of the two fundraisings. Like Mr Kalaris, he faces only one count in relation to the June capital call, when the bank’s prospectus said it would pay £107m costs and expenses but pledged there were no other fees or commissions, according to the indictment. Mr Boath, who left the bank in 2016, has instructed Bill Boyce QC as his barrister.
Former Barclays chief financial officer
The former chief financial officer of Barclays, Mr Lucas is named as a co-conspirator of the defendants on the SFO’s indictment in relation to the arrangements with the Qataris around both capital raisings. Mr Lucas, who is suffering from ill health, has not been charged by the SFO.
Mr Justice Jay
Presiding judge in the case
This is one of the most high-profile trials that Robert Jay has presided over since becoming a judge in 2013. He rose to prominence as a barrister when he was counsel to the Leveson inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal. Sir Robert is known for his expansive vocabulary — “condign”, “proleptic” and “nugatory” are all everyday words for him.
QC representing John Varley
Mr Varley’s barrister, Mr Purnell, is one of the country’s top silks — or Queen’s Counsels — with more than four decades of experience. Described by legal guide Chambers & Partners as “massively experienced and a force to be reckoned with” he has also won a number of cases against the SFO. He also defended Jeffrey Archer in his 2001 perjury trial.
QC representing Roger Jenkins
Mr Kelsey-Fry has been described by legal guides as “highly charismatic and persuasive in front of juries”. His high-profile clients have included Harry Redknapp, the former Spurs manager, who was cleared by a jury of tax evasion and Chris Huhne, the former Liberal Democrat minister who was jailed in 2013.
One of the most senior silks in London, Mr Brown is the lead prosecutor on the case for the SFO. An expert on joint enterprise — the doctrine that allows more than one person to be charged with the same crime and is often applied in gang situations or where it is unclear who dealt a fatal blow — Mr Brown has successfully prosecuted gang members and child murderers.
Former Barclays chairman; witness for the prosecution
The chairman of Barclays in 2008, Mr Agius is a witness for the SFO. Mr Agius, 72, spent almost 30 years at investment bank Lazard, becoming chairman of its London branch before he took over as chairman of Barclays in 2007. He left in 2012. A keen gardener, he is a trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
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