Ex-Barclays CEO John Varley just got cleared of fraud charges related to a financial crisis-era deal

  • Former Barclays CEO John Varley was just cleared of fraud charges relating to a 2008 deal with Qatar.
  • Varley, along with other executives, were accused of conspiracy to commit fraud when raising capital during the height of the financial crisis.
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Barclays’ former CEO John Varley was acquitted on Friday after judges ruled that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to proceed with the trial.

The case against Varley centered on alleged fraud during capital raisings from Qatar undertaken at the height of the global financial crisis by British lender Barclays in 2008.

Varley, the CEO of Barclays between 2004 and 2011, had faced two charges of conspiracy to commit fraud.

The decision caps a historic and tumultuous trial in one of the only cases arising out of the events of the financial crisis that involved a bank’s highest-ranking executive. Varley told the court back in February: “I do not accept that I am responsible for any criminal offence.”

Read more: See all our coverage of the Barclays Qatar trial here.

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office had claimed that the side-deals paid Qatari companies £322 million – a 3.25% commission – in fees during the capital raisings, which were fraudulently not disclosed to other investors.

Two Qatari companies, Qatar Investment Authority and Qatar Holdings, invested £6 billion ($US7.6 billion) in Barclays during the capital-raising activities during the financial crisis. Qatar has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

The case alleging fraud against three other Barclays executives will be retried. The defendants are Roger Jenkins, the former executive chairman of investment management in the Middle East and North Africa at Barclays Capital; Thomas Kalaris, who headed the bank’s wealth division at the time of the fundraising; and Richard Boath, former head of Barclays’ European financial institution’s group.