Ex-Barclays CEO John Varley cleared in case over Qatar fundraising

A case against three other former executives will continue after Friday’s ruling.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 04: The former chief executive of Barclays John Varley arrives at Southwark Crown Court on March 4, 2019 in London, England. The trial against Mr Varley who is on trial for fraud, and three other former top executives at Barclays Bank is the first heard by a U.K. jury against a top banker in connection with the financial crisis in 2008. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
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Criminal charges against former Barclays CEO John Varley were dismissed following a ruling by a London appeals court.

The decision, which follows months of delays and appeals, puts an end to a scandal that has hung over the former executive for more than a decade. In April, Judge Robert Jay threw out the case against him, saying there was little evidence against Mr Varley, but the Court of Appeal only upheld the ruling on Friday.

The charges related to Barclays’s attempts to avoid nationalisation, a fate imposed on two competitors as the financial crisis tore into balance sheets in 2008. Faced with narrowing capital reserves, Barclays executives turned to Qatar for four billion pounds (DH18.6bn) of life-saving investments - part of more than £11bn in cash injections that year.

The UK Serious Fraud Office alleged that Barclays paid Qatar £322 million as a sweetener to secure the investments and that there was no intention for Qatar to deliver any services in exchange, as claimed by the bank. The SFO also alleged that Mr Varley conspired to hide the fees from other investors who participated in a cash call on worse terms.

A case against three other former executives will continue after Friday’s ruling.