Bob Diamond, John Varley and other senior members of Barclays' former management are set to be questioned under caution by the U.K.'s Serious Fraud Office, in an acceleration of its probe into alleged corrupt arrangements in Qatar as part of the bank's emergency cash call in 2008.
For Barclays, which launched a restructuring plan last week to improve profitability, the news is an unwelcome reminder of the issues hanging over the bank.
"They've just sliced off two arms and a leg, and still someone's out to get them," said one person involved.
In what could be some of the most prominent criminal interviews to date with banking executives over events that took place in the financial crisis, a dozen individuals have now been either interviewed under caution or called for interview by the SFO, according to people familiar with the investigation.
Apart from Mr Diamond and Mr Varley, both former chief executives of Barclays, they include Roger Jenkins, former head of the bank's tax advisory business, and Chris Lucas, former finance director.
An interview under caution suggests the SFO believes it may have reasonable grounds to suspect that the individual has committed an offence. Such interviews are preceded by the warning: "You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court."
Such questioning does not require arrest and can instead be scheduled by appointment, as is the case with the Barclays' probe.