UK court adjourns Barclays Qatar case until May

Richard Boath, former co-head of global finance in EMEA, is suing Barclays in a pay dispute and for unfair dismissal. He claims he was fired due to what he told fraud investigators during an investigation into the bank.

Mr Boath was interviewed by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office in a criminal investigation over the bank’s fundraising with Qatar investors in 2008, and his lawyer said at the employment hearing last week Boath was fired as a “direct response” of what he told the SFO.

The judge adjourned the hearing until May after more than a week of discussions over whether reporting of the case should be restricted.

The SFO asked for the hearings to be in private, saying it could prejudice any future charges it could bring against people involved. Barclays supported the application.

Thomson Reuters, the owner of IFR, is part of a media consortium arguing for the hearing to be held in public. Reporting restrictions have been applied on the hearing.

The adjournment means the hearing is unlikely to be heard until after the SFO has decided whether to charge any individuals. It has said it expects to make any charges by the end of March.

Barclays’ fundraising with Qatar and other investors in 2008 enabled the bank to avoid taking a state bailout, but it has since been criticised as not fully transparent. The SFO’s investigation centres on commercial agreements between Barclays and Qatari investors.

Barclays paid £322 million in fees over five years to Qatari investors under two advisory services agreements in 2008, and details of those payments were not disclosed.

The SFO interviewed Mr Boath under caution and gave transcripts of the interviews to Barclays.

Mr Boath, most recently Barclays’ chairman of the financial institutions group, left the bank in March.


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