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London judge discharges jury in landmark Barclays Qatar case

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By Reuters
London judge discharges jury in landmark Barclays Qatar case
FILE PHOTO: Workers are seen in at Barclays bank offices in the Canary Wharf financial district in London, Britain, November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo   -   Copyright  Toby Melville(Reuters)

By Iain Withers and Kirstin Ridley

LONDON (Reuters) – A London jury has been discharged in a landmark fraud trial of four former Barclays executives accused of paying Qatar undisclosed fees to help rescue the bank at the height of the credit crisis in 2008.

Judge Robert Jay told the jury at Southwark Crown Court on Monday he was required to discharge them. No further details could be published due to continued reporting restrictions.

Former chief executive John Varley, Roger Jenkins, Tom Kalaris and Richard Boath are charged with conspiring to commit fraud by false representation when Barclays raised more than 11 billion pounds from investors in 2008, allowing the British bank to avoid a state bailout.

Prosecutors allege the bankers excluded from public documents and hid from other investors around 322 million pounds in fees paid to the Qatari investors through so-called advisory service agreements (ASAs).

The defendants deny wrongdoing and said they had relied on legal advice.

The prosecution, brought by the UK Serious Fraud Office, is the first jury trial of a leading bank’s CEO over conduct during the financial crisis.

Qatari investors ploughed around 4 billion pounds into Barclays during two fund raisings in June and October 2008.

(Reporting by Iain Withers and Kirstin Ridley; Editing by Rachel Armstrong/Keith Weir/ Kirsten Donovan)