Robert E. Diamond is fond of saying that he never had to fall back on taxpayers’ money. It’s bollocks actually, because without it he couldn’t have bridged enough to buy Lehman in the US. But some of us did suggest when he made a beeline for the Arabs in 2008 that there was an air of desperation about the scramble.
Now it seems that our very own SFO are about to open a criminal probe as soon as this week into
socking great bribes payments placed quietly by Barcap during 2008 into Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund as the bank sought to raise money.
The Serious Fraud Office is already working with the U.K. Financial Services Authority, conducting a civil investigation into whether the bank adequately disclosed fees it agreed to pay the Qatar Investment Authority. But it now looks like things of a more overtly naughty nature occurred, allegedly: four current and former senior employees are in the frame, including Finance Director Chris Lucas.
Barclays blagged 7 billion quid of capital from Abu Dhabi, Qatar and all places dodgy after the 2007 mess threatened to blow them away. The degree of desperation was signalled by the bank
falling over it’s scorch-marked knickers being willing to give equity away in the process. The Arabs subsequently sold their stake at a whopping profit.
One wonders if (but doubts whether) Bobby is one of those under suspicion. One suspects that R.E.D. knows the location of too many Threadneedled bodies, and will thus get off as usual.