LONDON (Reuters) - British bank Barclays (BARC.L) has denied receiving an offer of a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) from the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), relating to a probe into its multi-billion pound fundraisings during the 2008 financial crisis.
Sky News reported earlier on Tuesday that the agency wrote to Barclays several weeks ago to propose a deal. The SFO gained powers to agree DPAs in February last year but has yet to agree such a deal.
“We are not in a position to comment on an ongoing legal matter, save to clarify that there has been no offer made of a DPA,” the bank said in a statement. It made no further comment.
Unlike rivals RBS (RBS.L) and Lloyds (LLOY.L), Barclays avoided a state bailout during the 2007-9 financial crisis by securing almost 12 billion pounds ($19 billion) from two emergency cash injections, mostly from Middle East investors.
But the deals came at a cost and the SFO has run a three-year investigation into undisclosed payments the bank made to Qatari investors in 2008.
The bank revealed previously it had paid out 116 million pounds in advisory fees and commission to Qatar Holdings, an investment house founded by the gas-rich Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund, as part of a 2008 deal with investors.
However, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said it failed to reveal another 322 million pounds in two “advisory services agreements” with the Qatari company.
According to the SFO’s website, conditions attached to a DPA could include the payment of a fine or compensation, co-operation in the prosecution of individuals, implementation of new compliance programmes and the appointment of a monitor.
In return, the SFO would agree to defer a criminal prosecution over a set period.
Editing by Sinead Cruise and David Holmes