Belfast Telegraph

Barclays under pressure as City regulator 'reopens emergency fundraising probe'

Barclays is under fresh pressure over its emergency fundraising at the height of the financial crisis after the City watchdog reportedly reopened its probe into the deal.

It is understood the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is reviewing new evidence that could prompt it to reconsider a £50 million fine against the banking giant four years ago.

The regulator is said to have been conducting a series of interviews in recent weeks over the deal, which saw Barclays raise £7.3 billion from Qatari and Abu Dhabi royals in 2008 as the financial crisis sent the sector into meltdown.

It comes as a separate criminal investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) into the 2008 fundraising nears a conclusion.

SFO director David Green said earlier this week the decision on whether to file charges against Barclays and several former senior executives was "approaching quite fast".

The FCA came to a conclusion in 2013 that Barclays had failed to disclose arrangements and fees it paid to Qatari investors in 2008, leading to a £50 million penalty.

Barclays contested the fine and the challenge was put on hold while the SFO conducted its investigation.

The FCA's decision to reopen the probe could see it reach fresh conclusions and potentially rethink the fine, according to reports.

Barclays and the FCA declined to comment.

The emergency funds raised by Barclays allowed it to avoid a government bailout in 2008 at a time when rivals Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland were forced to rely on a taxpayer rescue.

The way the bank secured the investments has since been mired in controversy.

Investigations are focused on two "advisory services agreements" worth £322 million, which Barclays agreed to pay the Qatar Investment Authority.

Financier Amanda Stavely has also launched legal action to recoup £700 million in advisory fees from Barclays she claims her firm PCP Partners is owed relating to the 2008 fundraising.