Belfast Telegraph

Barclays offered deal by Serious Fraud Office

By Roger Baird

Barclays is reportedly weighing up a deal that would settle its long-running criminal probe into its dealings with Qatari investors that raised £5.8bn during the financial crisis.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has offered the bank a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA).

If Barclays accepts, it must admit offences such as market-manipulation through making false and misleading statements and propping up its shares by giving financial assistance to an investor buying the securities.

The SFO gained powers to strike US-style DPAs last February, but has yet to sign the first such deal, which would see the signatory avoid prosecution while sticking to a series of strict conditions for a number of years.

This long-running investigation has seen several former top executives of the bank, including former chief executives Bob Diamond and John Varley, interviewed under caution. The SFO recently said it has opened discussions with firms about a number of possible DPAs. People close to the bank said it will consider the strength of the case the SFO has against it, before deciding whether to sign a DPA. City watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has already told the bank it wants to fine it £50m over the way it arranged the fundraising.

Belfast Telegraph