(Reuters) - Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is expected to receive about 2 million pounds from the UK Treasury to support its criminal probe into the dealings between Barclays Plc and Qatar Holding, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.
Barclays is being investigated by the SFO and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for an allegation that the bank lent Qatar Holding, a part of the Qatar Investment Authority, money to invest in it as part of a rescue fundraising at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.
UK rules forbid a public company from giving financial assistance in order to acquire its shares or those of a parent company.
The bank has been deeply investigated by the FCA, which is now taking a back seat with the SFO probing into other parts of the fundraising, the FT said, citing people familiar with the matter.
A treasury spokesperson and the SFO declined to comment on the matter, while Barclays was not available for comments outside regular business hours.
David Green, the head of the SFO, has said he expects to secure extra funding from the government for some complex investigations, partly because the agency’s annual budget has been slashed to around 30 million pounds - a fraction of the budget of some regional police forces.
Green, who has said he hopes for progress in the Barclays investigation by year end, is already receiving more than 3 million pounds per year in extra government funding the help with the largest and most complex inquiry on his books - the investigation into Libor rate rigging.
Some lawyers have argued that this so-called ‘surge’ or ‘blockbuster’ funding for specific investigations risks undermining the independence of the SFO, which is battling to restore faith in its crime-busting abilities.
Barclays, which publishes financial results on Tuesday, is expected to set out plans either to sell bonds that are wiped out if it hits trouble or to raise equity to meet tougher UK rules on capital.
Reporting by Abhirup Roy in Bangalore and William Schomberg in London; Additional reporting by Kirstin Ridley; Editing by Diane Craft