News broke yesterday that Barclays Bank is to be charged with criminal offences. I stress, not the directors or some names individual, but the Bank itself.
The charge does, admittedly, relate to events in the past. It is alleged that in 2008 the Bank lent £3 billion ( I stress, billion) to Qatar so that Qatar could use those funds to buy shares in Barclays that then ensured Barclays would not need to be nationalised, unlike Lloyd’s and RBS.
There was just one problem with this arrangement. It was illegal. Banks may not explicitly lend to assist others to buy shares in themselves.
Barclays, of course, knew this.
Well, no, not quite. The allegation is that the actions were illegal and that this was known.
Has Barclays been threatened with the loss of all its public contracts? No.
Err, punishment comes after the trial, no?