Feb. 1 - British authorities are investigating an allegation that Barclays loaned Qatar money to invest in the bank as part of its rescue fundraising at the height of the financial crisis. Barclays has been hit by a string of scandals, including rigging Libor rates, and its new CEO Antony Jenkins has said he will not take his 2012 bonus. Joanna Partridge reports
It's been battered by a $450 million fine for rigging Libor interest rates, then the departure of CEO Bob Diamond. Now the British authorities are looking into an allegation that Barclays loaned Qatar money to invest in the lender as part of its rescue fundraising during the financial crisis, according to a report in the Financial Times. Unlike its rivals Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays avoided a government bailout. The Financial Services Authority and Serious Fraud Office are looking into the 5.3 billion pounds Qatar Holding invested in Barclays in June and October of 2008. Qatar Holding is not accused of any wrongdoing. George Hay is from Reuters Breaking Views. SOUNDBITE: George Hay, Columnist, Reuters Breaking Views, saying (English): "In 2008, Barclays made this big statement about this is a vote of confidence from this outside investor who can invest in anyone. And if it is proved that Barclays actually just enabled them to do it, then it really does take the shine off how good a deal that was." Jan Randolph from IHS Global Insight isn't surprised that such stories keep hitting the headlines, as more regulation means more scrutiny. SOUNDBITE: Jan Randolph, Director of Sovereign Risk Analysis, IHS Global Insight, saying (English): "We're seeing more searching, more investigations into banks and what they do because we've realised how important they are. As to their overall reputations, I think that can only come throw with the improvement in banks themselves and their balance sheets, and then making a more genuine contribution to real recoveries in the real economy, I think when that happens, only then can their reputations really improve." Barclays' new CEO Antony Jenkins has tried to restore the bank's reputation. He says he won't take a bonus for 2012 to "avoid further unnecessary public debate".