Three former Barclays executives have been cleared of fraud over a £4billion investment deal with Qatar at the height of the banking crisis.
Scotsman Roger Jenkins, 64, was said to be Barclays’ ‘gatekeeper’ to the wealthy Middle Eastern state, and in 2008 helped the bank with two large capital raisings to avoid a government bailout.
He was accused alongside Tom Kalaris, 64, and 61-year-old Richard Boath, of lying about interest rates they were paying to the Qataris for the loans to ward off the bailout in the 2008 financial crisis.
The trio’s acquittal puts pressure on the Serious Fraud Office after their investigation went on for five years and cost £15million.
In June, Barclays secured £4.4 billion, with £1.9 billion invested by Qatar, followed by a second tranche in the autumn of £6.8 billion, of which £2.05 billion was from Qatar.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) alleged the lucrative terms given to Qatar, including an extra £322 million in fees, were hidden from the market and other investors through bogus advisory service agreements (ASAs).
But multi-millionaire Jenkins, who was linked to a string of glamorous women including supermodel Elle MacPherson, was on Friday acquitted of fraud, alongside former colleagues Thomas Kalaris, 64, and Richard Boath, 61 at the Old Bailey.
The jury of seven women and five men deliberated for around five-and-a-half hours following a five-month trial.
Mr Jenkins was said to be Barclays’ ‘gatekeeper’ to the wealthy Middle Eastern state, and in 2008 helped the bank with two large capital raisings to avoid a government bailout
A previous £5m case against the executives, and former chief executive John Varley, 63, collapsed last year at Southwark Crown Court.
Mr Justice Jay ruled at the time there was ‘no evidential case to answer for Varley and no case to answer on legal grounds for all four defendants’.
But the SFO appealed the decision at the High Court and were able to bring a retrial against Boath, Kalaris, and Jenkins – only to lose again.
It is just the latest in a series of disastrous prosecutions by the SFO which will now face calls for a complete overhaul or abolition.