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Report: Barclays in talks with UK SFO to avoid Qatar charges against unit

Barclays Plc is in negotiations with the U.K. Serious Fraud Office to strike a deal to avoid new charges against its Barclays Bank Plc unit over a controversial 2008 fundraising involving a Qatari sovereign wealth fund, "a person with knowledge of the situation" told Bloomberg News.

Barclays Plc and four former executives were charged earlier in 2017 in relation to a £322 million fee paid to the Qatar Investment Authority and a $3 billion loan facility the bank made available as it was in talks for the authority to invest in a 2008 capital increase that allowed the lender to avoid a state bailout, Bloomberg wrote. A trial is slated for 2019.

Any charges against Barclays Bank could cause problems because the lender's global operations might be affected if found guilty, the newswire noted, adding that regulatory approvals and banking licenses are usually tied to subsidiaries, which provide products and services. The regulator is expected to decide whether to charge the unit by the end of January 2018, "two people with knowledge of the discussions" added.

The former executives have said they will plead not guilty to the charges filed against them, while Barclays said it was "considering its position" with regards to the charges, Bloomberg wrote.