Barclays Bank to pay $2 bn fine for crisis-era fraud: US authorities

The headquarters of the British bank Barclays (R) is seen at the Canary Wharf district of east London on June 20, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 29 March 2018

Barclays Bank to pay $2 bn fine for crisis-era fraud: US authorities

WASHINGTON: Barclays has agreed to pay $2 billion for allegedly causing billions of dollars of losses to investors by engaging in a fraudulent scheme to sell residential mortgage-backed securities between 2005 and 2007, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.
The department said the firm misled investors about the quality of the mortgage loans backing those deals and committed violations of mail fraud and bank fraud. According to the Justice Department's statement, Barclays disputes the allegations.
The settlement resolves the British bank's largest outstanding legal issue in the United States, and could offer reassurance to investors who had been braced for a potentially larger fine.
"I am pleased that we have been able to reach a fair and proportionate settlement with the Department of Justice. It has been a priority for this management team from the start to resolve these historic issues in a timely and appropriate manner wherever possible," Barclays Chief Executive Jes Staley said.
Barclays shares were trading 0.7 percent up at 1332 GMT following news of the settlement.
Barclays said paying the fine would hit its core capital ratio, a key measure of financial strength, by 0.45 percentage points.
Two former Barclays executives, Paul Menefee and John Carroll, who worked on the RMBS deals paid a combined $2 million in exchange for claims against them being dismissed, the Justice Department said.


Saudi-led group reinstated as builder of Bulgaria gas pipeline

Updated 16 September 2019

Saudi-led group reinstated as builder of Bulgaria gas pipeline

  • Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court announced that the Saudi-led group’s main competitors for the project had dropped a legal challenge relating to the award
  • Bulgaria’s state gas operator Bulgartransgaz had initially chosen the Saudi-led group — made up of Saudi Arabia’s Arkad Engineering and a joint venture including Switzerland’s ABB

SOFIA: A Saudi-led consortium was definitively reinstated on Monday as the builder of a new gas pipeline through Bulgaria, intended to hook up to Gazprom’s TurkStream project.
Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court announced Monday that the Saudi-led group’s main competitors for the project had dropped a legal challenge relating to the award.
The latest development brings to an end a long-running tussle between the Saudi-led consortium and its competitors for the project, a consortium of Luxembourg-based Completions Development, Italy’s Bonatti and Germany’s Max Streicher.
Bulgaria’s state gas operator Bulgartransgaz had initially chosen the Saudi-led group — made up of Saudi Arabia’s Arkad Engineering and a joint venture including Switzerland’s ABB — to build the 474-kilometer (294-mile) pipeline.
But Bulgartransgaz later decided to strike the winner off the tender for failing to supply documents needed to sign off the contract.
Instead it accepted the offer of the second-placed consortium led by Completions Development.
However, Bulgaria’s competition watchdog ruled in July that the operator should honor its previous commitments and sign a contract with the Saudi-led group.
The watchdog’s verdict was subject to a final appeal in the courts but the Supreme Administrative Court announced Monday that the appeal had been withdrawn, meaning that the Arkad-led group has now been definitively reinstated.
Bulgartransgaz is in a hurry to complete the pipeline as soon as possible in a bid to enable Russian gas giant Gazprom to hook it up to its TurkStream pipeline after it becomes operational at the end of this year.
Bulgaria, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas for its domestic needs, has been repeatedly criticized by both the EU and the United States for failing to diversify both its gas sources and its delivery routes.
The Balkan country hopes to start receiving Caspian Sea gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field as well as liquefied natural gas from various sources via terminals in Greece through a 182-kilometer (113-mile) interconnector expected to be ready by the end of 2020.