Barclays Finance Chief Probed

Bank says Chris Lucas is among employees being investigated for fee disclosures on capital raising.

Barclays Plc, whose three most senior officials resigned after the lender was fined for rigging Libor, said Finance Director Chris Lucas is being probed by regulators with regards to a fundraising four years ago.

The U.K. Financial Services Authority is investigating four current and former senior employees, including Lucas, over the disclosure of fees related to the bank’s capital raisings in 2008, Barclays said in a statement today as it released first- half earnings. The bank also disclosed a further three lawsuits linked to its alleged manipulation of global interest rates.

“The FSA is investigating the sufficiency of disclosure in relation to fees payable under certain commercial agreements and whether these may have related to Barclays capital raisings in June and November 2008,” the bank said in the statement.

The FSA investigation does not relate to a 66 million-pound ($104 million) payment to Qatar Holding LLC mentioned in a November 2008 prospectus, Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius said on a call with journalists today. Agius said Lucas’s name was deliberately disclosed by Barclays as the information was potentially market-moving, and said investigations such as this occur “routinely.”

He said the fees had been mentioned in prospectus documents, without specifying which ones.

Shares of Barclays jumped as much as 7.6 percent today, the most in six weeks, after the company’s first-half earnings beat analysts’ estimates.

The stock was up 6.4 percent to 163.45 pence at 1:12 p.m. in London, where the company is based. Barclays shares are still down about 17 percent since the company’s record 290 million- pound fine for rigging interest rates was disclosed a month ago.

Barclays raised 7 billion pounds of capital from investors including the Abu Dhabi and Qatar sovereign wealth funds as the financial crisis worsened in 2008, helping the bank avoid a government bailout. The U.K. government was spending 66 billion pounds buying shares in Lloyds Banking Group Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland to rescue the lenders at the time.

The 66-million-pound Qatar payment was “for having arranged certain of the subscriptions in the capital raising,” Barclays said in the November 2008 prospectus.

Roger Jenkins, former head of Barclays’s structured capital markets unit, received a bonus of more than 30 million pounds for helping to broker the investments, while Amanda Staveley of PCP Capital Partners was paid a 40 million-pound commission for her advice, the New York Times reported in November 2008.

 

‘Satisfied’ Obligations

“Barclays considers that it satisfied its disclosure obligations and confirms that it will cooperate fully with the FSA’s investigation,” the bank said today.

Barclays Chief Executive Officer Robert Diamond, Agius and Chief Operating Officer Jerry Del Missier all said they would step down after the bank last month paid a record 290 million- pound fine to regulators for rigging global interest rates. Barclays has opened an internal review into its business practices, led by Anthony Salz, an executive vice chairman at Rothschild and former corporate lawyer.

FSA spokesman Liam Parker declined to comment. Barclays spokesman Giles Croot declined to expand upon the bank’s statement. Spokesmen for Staveley and Jenkins were not immediately available to comment.

First-half pretax profit excluding one-time items rose 13 percent to 4.23 billion pounds, Barclays reported today, beating analysts’ estimates, amid fewer bad loans at the consumer bank and market-share gains in investment banking.

Total revenue at the investment bank increased 4 percent in the first half from the year-earlier period to 5 billion pounds, as revenue from fixed income, currency and commodities, known as FICC, jumped 11 percent. The division’s adjusted pretax profit rose to 2.6 billion pounds in the half from 2.4 billion pounds.



Bloomberg

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