New Barclays boss unveiled as fraud office probes Qatar loan

Aug 30, 2012

Antony Jenkins becomes CEO the day after SFO announces investigation into Barclays over Qatar funding

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BARCLAYS has announced a new chief executive just hours after it was engulfed in fresh scandal when the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) revealed it is investigating concerns about payments made by the bank when it secured a key investment to keep it afloat at the height of the 2008 banking crisis.

Antony Jenkins, currently running the bank’s retail and business wing, will replace Bob Diamond who stepped down earlier this year in the wake of the SFO’s ongoing – and separate – inquiry into the fixing of a key interest rate, Libor.

Last month, the SFO announced it has sufficient grounds to prosecute banks and bankers over the Libor scandal. Barclays, just one of the banks being investigated, was fined £290m by UK and US regulators in June for its part in rate-fixing.

Jenkins began his banking career at Barclays 30 years ago and said he was “very proud” to have been asked to lead the bank. The BBC says Jenkins will start on a basic salary of £1.1m with a potential annual bonus worth up to two-and-a-half times as much as that.

Jenkins did not comment on the announcement yesterday that the SFO is investigating the Qatar fundraising, but he did acknowledge these are troubled times for the bank, saying: “We have made serious mistakes in recent years and clearly failed to keep pace with our stakeholders' expectations."

The new SFO investigation relates to payments made by Barclays to Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, reports The Daily Telegraph. The bank raised £4.5bn from Qatar in 2008 - and a further £7.1bn from Qatar, Abu Dhabi and other shareholders later the same year.

At the time it was feared that Barclays would follow RBS, Northern Rock and Lloyds into financial disaster, with a concomitant government bailout. The SFO is said to be investigating 'fees' which Barclays paid to help secure the fundraising.

The bank issued a statement last night: "Barclays confirms that the Serious Fraud Office has commenced an investigation into payments under certain commercial agreements between Barclays and Qatar Holding," it said.

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