Former Barclays executives acquitted of conspiracy to commit fraud

Roger Jenkins, Richard Boath and Thomas Kalaris have been acquitted of fraud in the UK’s first trial of bank executives for misconduct during the 2008 financial crisis. The three men were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud in relation to allegedly misleading investors and the markets over capital raising arrangements agreed with Qatar Holding LLC and Challenger Universal Ltd in June and October 2008.

A statement issued by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) reads: “Our prosecution decisions are always based on the evidence that is available, and we are determined to bring the perpetrators of serious financial crime to justice. Wherever our evidential and public interest tests are met, we will always endeavour to bring this before a court.”

The statement continues: “Charges against Barclays plc and Barclays Bank plc in relation to the 2008 capital raisings were dismissed by the Crown Court in May 2018. The High Court rejected the SFO’s application to re-instate them in October later that year and also refused permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. John Varley, former CEO of Barclays, was also charged in relation to these activities. The case against him was dismissed in April 2019.”

In addition, the SFO comments: “Chris Lucas, the chief finance officer of Barclays at the time of this conduct, was named as a co-conspirator on the indictment against these individuals. But for ill-health, he would have been charged and tried.”

Legal community responds

Responding to the news, Aziz Rahman (senior partner at corporate crime legal specialists Rahman Ravelli) said: “This is another high-profile defeat for the SFO. It’s a crushing loss that should be seen by the SFO as a painful lesson that it needs to heed. Barclays itself has already been acquitted. The SFO did all it could to shoehorn these charges into court and, as a result, it has been left with egg on its face. The fact that it had to go to such lengths to ensure this case came to court should have been a clear warning to it about the case’s lack of strength.”

Rahman added: “While it’s too early to say, there is the possibility that this could reshape the SFO’s thinking when it comes to dealing with individuals after the company has already been dealt with. In this case, the SFO has been dogged in its pursuit of individuals and that pursuit has ended in failure. Unfortunately for the SFO, this seems to be a routine that’s being played out with monotonous regularity.”

Bambos Tsiattalou, specialist financial crime lawyer and founding partner of Stokoe Partnership Solicitors, observed: “This is a huge blow to the SFO and its reputation. Today’s decision brings into question the effectiveness of the department. It will now be essential to conduct a thorough review of procedures within the SFO, with this being the organisation’s most high profile failure to date. The judgement of key decision-makers within the department must surely be brought into question.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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