Barclays Says Contesting Regulator’s Findings in Qatar Probe

Barclays Plc, Britain’s second-biggest bank by assets, said it’s contesting a regulator’s findings in a probe into fees the bank paid Qatar during a 2008 fundraising that helped it avoid a bailout.

The Financial Conduct Authority sent Barclays on June 27 its preliminary findings over the fees and the involvement of four current and former employees including Finance Director Chris Lucas, the London-based lender said in a statement today.

The FCA’s enforcement unit typically gives companies early notification when it expects to levy fines or other penalties. The regulator is probing if Barclays properly disclosed fees paid to the Qatar Investment Authority as part of a 7 billion-pound ($10.7 billion) fundraising during the financial crisis, a move that helped the lender avoid taking state aid unlike Lloyds Banking Group Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc.

“Barclays expects further developments in the near-term,” it said in a statement. On a conference call with reporters today, Barclays Chief Executive Officer Antony Jenkins declined to answer any questions on Qatar, citing the investigation.

The bank today said it plans to raise 5.8 billion pounds in a rights offering to bolster capital. It will also shrink assets by as much as 80 billion pounds to 1.5 trillion pounds and sell 2 billion pounds of loss-absorbing securities to meet calls by the regulator to cut leverage.

Barclays was fined 290 million pounds last year for rigging the London interbank offered rate, the benchmark interest rate used by $300 trillion of contracts worldwide ranging from mortgages to student loans.

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