Former Barclays finance chief would have faced charges over Qatar rescue, trial hears

Chris Lucas served on the Barclays board for nearly six years. (Photo/Barclays)
Updated 10 October 2019

Former Barclays finance chief would have faced charges over Qatar rescue, trial hears

  • As a former bank director, Lucas arguably took direct responsibility for false representations
  • He stepped down in 2013 due to his health

LONDON: Former Barclays finance director Chris Lucas would have been criminally charged over two emergency fundraisings launched by the bank at the height of the financial crisis if he were not too ill to stand trial, a London fraud trial heard on Wednesday.
As a former bank director, Lucas, who stepped down in 2013 due to his health, arguably took direct responsibility for false representations in the bank’s public documents about capital raisings in June and October 2008, a prosecutor for the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) alleged.
The high-profile trial revolves around undisclosed payments to Qatar as Barclays raised more than 11 billion pounds from Doha and other investors to avert a state bailout as markets roiled in the global credit crisis.
Prosecutor Edward Brown highlighted the alleged role played by Lucas on the second day of the fraud trial of three former top Barclays executives; Roger Jenkins, Tom Kalaris and Richard Boath, at London’s Old Bailey criminal court.
“The prosecution say ... that Chris Lucas may be regarded as directly making a false representation in the Barclays documents (as a director),” Brown said, as the prosecution laid out its case.
“He (Lucas) is not a defendant, before the court, due to illness...But for his illness he would have been charged.”
Lucas’ lawyer declined to comment.
The defendants are charged with conspiring with Lucas to commit fraud by false representation as well as a separate charge of fraud by false representation. They deny wrongdoing.
The trial is expected to last five months. The defense will later present its case.
Barclays paid Qatar £322 million in fees that were not disclosed in public documents, such as the prospectuses and subscription agreements that outlined payments and commissions paid to investors as incentives for their support.
The prosecution alleges that the defendants breached well-established banking practice, under which all investors should be paid equally, and disguised these fees as “bogus” advisory services agreements (ASAs).
Brown said Barclays’ lawyers wanted evidence of services to justify the fees the bank was paying Qatar — and he alleged the defendants and Lucas had made “after the event” attempts to demonstrate some services had been provided.
But he added: “These did not come close to justifying the huge amounts paid over to the Qataris and, you may well conclude, were nothing more than a smoke-screen to seek to legitimize what had gone before.”
Qatar Holding, part of the Qatar Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund, and Challenger, an investment vehicle of former Qatari prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani, invested about 4 billion pounds in Barclays over 2008.
But that June, the Qataris demanded more than double what the bank had agreed to pay other investors and the defendants, knowing Barclays needed to strengthen its balance sheet in volatile markets, wrestled with how to pay them, Brown said.
Boath laid bare the pressure the bank was under.
“If he (Sheikh Hamad) doesn’t come through with his money, we’re f***ed,” Boath was quoted as saying on June 11, 2008, according to Brown.
Jenkins, the former chairman of the bank’s Middle East investment banking arm, Kalaris, who led the bank’s wealth division and Boath, a former European head of corporate finance, are charged with fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation over the first fundraising in June 2008.
Jenkins also faces both charges over the second fundraising that October.


Saudi Arabia promotes investment opportunities with Japan’s business leaders  

Updated 23 October 2019

Saudi Arabia promotes investment opportunities with Japan’s business leaders  

  • Saudi Arabia and Japan exchanged 12 MoUs in the fields of education, science, technology, and banking and finance

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia opened its doors for Japanese investment during a Saudi-Japan business forum held in Tokyo on Wednesday amid growing economic ties between the two nations.  

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) discussed tourism and entertainment investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia with Japan’s business leaders and government officials during the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum, hosted in partnership with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).

During the forum, 12 Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) were exchanged in fields of education, science, technology, and banking and finance.

The MoUs include Toyobo and Saline Water Conversion Corporation and Arabian Japanese Membrane Company which will aim to manage disposed brine water generated from seawater desalination plants for environmental sustainability.

Two Saudi and Japanese universities signed MoUs for academic exchange on research. While SAGIA signed MoU with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation to enhance investment opportunities.

“Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners, and businesses from across our countries have a strong track record of working together,” Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Commerce and Investment, Majid Al-Qasabi said at the Forum.

“Today’s Forum reflects the success and strength of this enduring partnership. We established the Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030 two years ago, which seeks to drive and facilitate continued private sector involvement by establishing joint-ventures between entities across our respective countries,” he added.

These investments come alongside a broad series of economic reforms, which are enabling rapid growth in foreign investment in Saudi Arabia. This is part of the Kingdom’s efforts to diversify its economy as outlined in Vision 2030.

Saudi Arabia has moved up three positions to the 36th place, globally, through its efforts to diversify the Kingdom’s economy, according to the 2019 Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum.

The total number of foreign investor licenses issued in the first half of 2019 was more than double the number issued the same period a year before.

“We believe that the future prosperity of the Kingdom depends on fostering even closer ties with our strategic partners across the globe, and we look forward to welcoming these companies as they take part in the historic transformation of our economy,” Al-Qasabi said. 

Memoranda of Understanding exchanged at the Forum include:

  • University of Tokyo and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) – the academic exchange for research in renewable energy and petrochemicals
  • Kyoto University Institute for Advance Study (KUIAS) and King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST)– to promote the exchange of scientific materials, publications, and information and exchange of faculty members and researchers, students and joint research
  • University of Tokyo and King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) – to collaborate on the research and the next generation of organic and soft electronics and efficient generation of hydrogen
  • Japan Patent Office (JPO) and Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) – to promote the exchange of data and best practices in the field of intellectual property protection including trademarks and patents
  • Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) – to enhance investment opportunities between Japan and Saudi Arabia
  • Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) – a framework for cooperation to enhance investment from Japan to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Toyobo and Saline Water Conversion Corporation and Arabian Japanese Membrane Company – to develop innovative membrane technologies and manage disposed brine water generated from seawater desalination plants for environmental sustainability
  • Sojitz Corporation and AIZAWA Concrete Corporation and Al Saedan for Development – to explore opportunities and utilize 3D printing technology and local materials for housing construction
  • Cyberdyne Group and Abdul Latif Jameel Investments – to collaborate and enhance Cybernic treatment and contribute to the social development of the Kingdom.
  • Saudi-Japan Vision Office Riyadh (VRO) and National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP) – to expand collaboration and enable investments in the field of industry, mining, energy and logistics
  • TBM and SABIC – to build a circular economy using LIMEX
  • Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the National Industrial Clusters Development Program (NICDP) and the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation and Saudi-Japanese Automobile High Institute – to provide support and training for human capacity development for Saudi youth in the automotive sector