Three former Barclays bosses have been cleared of fraud over a £4 billion 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.
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 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.
At the time of the alleged fraud, each of the defendants held very senior positions at Barclays, jurors heard.
Jenkins was Barclays Capital (“BarCap”) executive chairman of investment banking and investment management in the Middle East and North Africa; Kalaris was Barclays’ wealth management CEO and Boath was Barclays Capital head of financial institutions group for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Prosecutor Ed Brown QC told jurors: “They acted dishonestly in order to preserve the future of the bank and to preserve their own positions.”
The defendants denied wrongdoing, with Bill Boyce QC, for Boath, describing the allegation as “preposterous”.
Mr Boyce told jurors: “The SFO have to prove that Roger Jenkins and Sheikh Hamad agreed a sham contract … this despite the fact that it was obvious to both sides that a long-term strategic relationship was in both their interests.”
Jenkins, of Malibu, California; Kalaris, of Thurloe Square, west London; and Boath, of Henley-on-Thames, were acquitted of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and fraud by false representation between May 1 2008 and August 31 2008.
Jenkins was also acquitted of two similar offences dated between September 1 2008 and November 30 2008.
Jurors were told that a fourth man, Christopher Lucas, had been found unfit to face trial due to illness.