The United Kingdom's biggest bank, Barclays Plc, is in trouble yet again. The UK's Serious Fraud Office's (SFO) announced today that the bank, along with four of its former executives, has been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, according to a report by Bloomberg. The charges are related to the side deals that the bank completed in addition to a fundraising effort in Qatar, following the financial crash of 2008. The bank has a big presence in Wall Street and remains the largest foreign investment bank in the United States. The regulatory agencies in the United States will also be monitoring the developments carefully.

Ghosts of the past

This is going to be one of the few cases in which the some of the top executives of a huge bank are going to be tried for offenses related to the 2008 financial collapse. The executives include former Chief of the bank's European financial institutions Richard Broath, former CEO John Varley, former Chief of Wealth Management Thomas Kalaris and the ex-head of the investment banking arm of the bank in the middle east, Roger Jenkins.

It is interesting to note that Barclays Bank was on the verge of buying Lehmann Brothers a few days before it collapsed. The deal fell through due to a regulatory issue raised by the Bank of England, the British equivalent of the Federal Reserve. Following the collapse of 2008, plenty of banks were in need of fresh capital or they had to hope for government bailouts.

Barclays opted to raise capital instead. The bank raised around $15 billion from Qatar but now finds itself in trouble due to the side deals that it had completed in conjunction with the fundraising effort.

The Qatar Investment Authority was paid $322 million in total fees while the bank also provided Qatar with a $3 billion loan facility.

These deals are now under the scanner and some of the top executives at Barclays Bank at the time find themselves in trouble for financial fraud. The investigation had been going on for five years.

What the accused say

Following the revelations, Barclays Bank stated that it was considering its position. It could be a huge blow for the bank, which is currently the fight largest investment bank in the United States by advisory fees and a case of financial fraud could seriously hamper its ambitions in the US market.

Richard Broath delivered a statement following the announcements. He stated that he had been falsely accused and the SFO did not have a complete understanding of what his role entailed. Broath insisted that he was not a decision maker at the time and also revealed that he had consulted lawyers as well as senior management when he had doubts about the deals.

Roger Jenkins' lawyer, Brad Kaufman of American law firm Greenberg Traurig, spoke on his client's behalf. He said, "As one might expect in the challenging circumstances of 2008, Mr Jenkins sought and received both internal and external legal advice on each and every subject mentioned in the accusations levelled by the SFO,"