LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - Barclays and four former senior executives have been criminally charged in a high-profile UK investigation into undisclosed payments to Qatari investors during a 12 billion pound ($15.4 billion) emergency fund raising in 2008.
In a highly anticipated announcement, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said on Tuesday it was charging the bank with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and unlawful financial assistance.
Barclays said it was considering its position over the charges and awaited further information.
It also charged Barclays' former senior executives John Varley, Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris and Richard Boath. The fundraising in 2008 included a $3 billion loan facility made to the wealthy Gulf state in November 2008, the SFO said.
Former chief executive Varley, Jenkins, a former senior investment banker, Kalaris, a former CEO of Barclays' wealth division and Boath, ex European head of financial institutions, have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation during a June 2008 capital raising.
Varley and Jenkins have also been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation in relation to the October 2008 capital raising.
Varley and Jenkins also face a charge of unlawful financial assistance, the SFO said.
The men are the most senior bankers in Britain to date to be accused by prosecutors of alleged crimes during the financial crisis, which brought the global financial system to its knees and plunged much of the world into recession.
(Reporting by Kirstin Ridley and Lawrence White, editing by Simon Jessop and Susan Fenton)