Serious Fraud Office admits it threw £12m at failed prosecution of senior Barclays bankers
The Serious Fraud Office has admitted it spent £12.2million on its failed prosecution of senior Barclays bankers – up to £3million more than previously thought.
The agency suffered a humiliating defeat last month when chief deal-maker, Roger Jenkins, 64, and executives Tom Kalaris, 64, and Richard Boath, 61, were acquitted of committing fraud at the height of the financial crisis in 2008.
The SFO has been accused of ‘repeated poor judgment’ throughout the seven-year investigation into the allegations.
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And its case against Barclays itself had already collapsed in 2018, with the bank’s former boss, John Varley, 63, walking free last year.
At the end of the trial the SFO had estimated the costs of the trial were between £9million and £10million, but yesterday confirmed the cost was £12.2million.
This included extra funding from the Treasury to fight the so-called ‘blockbuster’ case.
Tory MP John Howell, a member of the House of Commons Justice Select Committee, said: ‘This is a vast amount of taxpayers’ cash spent on a case which ultimately came to nothing.
‘The SFO were told all along that they were on thin ice.’
Prosecutors had claimed the executives were desperate to protect their massive salaries by securing Qatari investment to save Barclays from a government bailout. But the jury were not convinced, returning a not guilty verdict.
Critics claim the case was pursued because of a ‘let’s nail a banker’ mentality borne out of the anger towards bankers after the financial crisis.
A spokesman for SFO said: ‘Our prosecution decisions are always based on the evidence that is available, and we are determined to bring perpetrators of serious financial crime to justice.’