London judge discharges jury in landmark Barclays Qatar case

Workers are seen in at Barclays bank offices in the Canary Wharf financial district in London. (Reuters)
Updated 08 April 2019
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London judge discharges jury in landmark Barclays Qatar case

  • Jury discharged in landmark trial
  • Reporting restrictions in place

LONDON: A London jury has been discharged in a landmark fraud trial of four former Barclays executives accused of paying Qatar undisclosed fees to help rescue the bank at the height of the credit crisis in 2008.
Judge Robert Jay told the jury at Southwark Crown Court on Monday he was required to discharge them. No further details could be published due to continued reporting restrictions.
Former chief executive John Varley, Roger Jenkins, Tom Kalaris and Richard Boath are charged with conspiring to commit fraud by false representation when Barclays raised more than 11 billion pounds ($14 billion) from investors in 2008, allowing the British bank to avoid a state bailout.
Prosecutors allege the bankers excluded from public documents and hid from other investors around 322 million pounds in fees paid to the Qatari investors through so-called advisory service agreements (ASAs).
The defendants deny wrongdoing and said they had relied on legal advice.
The prosecution, brought by the UK Serious Fraud Office, is the first jury trial of a leading bank’s CEO over conduct during the financial crisis.
Qatari investors plowed around 4 billion pounds into Barclays during two fund raisings in June and October 2008.


India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

Updated 35 min 34 sec ago
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India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

  • Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries
  • India said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”

NEW DELHI: India has suspended trade across its disputed Kashmir border with Pakistan, alleging that weapons and drugs are being smuggled across the route, as tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries and brought the two countries to the brink of war with cross-border air strikes.
On Thursday, India’s government, which is in the middle of a tough national election, said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency.”
It also said many of those trading across the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into zones under Indian and Pakistani control, had links to militant organizations.
The home ministry said trade would be suspended until a stricter inspection mechanism is in place.
The cross-border trade is based on a barter system, with traders exchanging goods including chillies, cumin, mango and dried fruit.
It began in 2008 as a way to improve strained relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, who have fought two of their three wars over the disputed region.
The Indian Express newspaper said Friday that 35 trucks carrying fruit traveling from the Indian side of the border had been stopped after the government order.
Trade on the border has been suspended before, including in 2015, when India accused a Pakistani driver of drug trafficking.
The latest move comes after India withdrew “Most Favoured Nation Status” — covering trade links — from Pakistan after the February attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group.
Islamabad has denied any involvement in the attack.
India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made national security a key plank of his re-election campaign, pointing to the recent flare-up of violence as he battles the center-left opposition Congress party.
He is seeking a second term from the country’s 900 million voters in the mammoth election which kicked off on April 11 and runs till May 19. The results will be out on May 23.