Former Qatari PM Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani is in the spotlight this week as four former Barclays executives go on trial over charges related to Barclays’ capital raising with Doha.
The case centers on agreements between Barclays and Qatari investors during two fundraisings in June and October 2008.
Qatar Holding, part of the Qatar Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund, and Challenger, an investment vehicle of Sheikh Hamad, invested around 5.3 billion pounds in Barclays.
The trial is expected to put Sheikh Hamad’s credibility on the line at a time when Qatar is being accused by its Gulf and Arab neighbors of supporting and financing terrorist groups in the region.
The bank and two former executives also face a charge of unlawful financial assistance related to a $3 billion loan facility Barclays made available to Qatar in November 2008. It is alleged Barclays lent money to Qatar with the understanding that the gulf state could use the money to buy shares in the bank, making its financial position look more positive.
Sheikh Hamad was allegedly the architect of this deal.
Barclays paid the Qatari investors 322 million pounds ($406 million) over five years, the bank disclosed in 2013.
The question at the heart of the case is whether Barclays hid from authorities and other shareholders the true nature of the fundraising plan with Qatar.
Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) charged Barclays Plc, former chief executive John Varley, Roger Jenkins, Tom Kalaris and Richard Boath with conspiracy to commit fraud and unlawful financial assistance in its first criminal prosecution of a bank and senior managers over events during the credit crisis.
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