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Ex-Barclays exec offered £25M bonus for closing Qatari deal, UK authority says

Barclays PLC allegedly offered to pay former executive Roger Jenkins a bonus of £25 million for securing investments from Qatar that allowed the British bank to avoid a state bailout during the 2008 financial crisis, Bloomberg News reported, citing a prosecutor at Jenkins' fraud trial.

Jenkins, Barclays' former head of investment banking in the Middle East, led negotiations with former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Jassim al Thani that resulted in the Qatari investments, which came as part of the bank's two capital increases in 2008, lawyers from the U.K. Serious Fraud Office said.

The SFO, which aims to hold senior bankers accountable for alleged wrongdoing during the financial crisis, is prosecuting Jenkins and two other former Barclays executives for allegedly concealing £322 million the bank paid to Qatar as a sweetener for the deal, the news agency noted.

Prosecutors previously claimed that Jenkins, along with fellow former Barclays executive Richard Boath, created a "misleading audit trail" to hide the payments to Qatar.

After Barclays' existing shareholders approved the second cash call, Jenkins purportedly said in an email to colleague Rich Ricci that then-CEO John Varley and investment banking head Bob Diamond should approach the bank's compensation committee and grant him a special bonus, according to evidence shown to a London jury.

Barclays subsequently offered the amount to Jenkins as a special award, prosecutor Ed Brown said, citing a draft agreement for the payment.

Meanwhile, prosecutors said Jenkins panicked about the risk of a state bailout for Barclays over fears that the government would not "look kindly" on his multimillion pound compensation, Reuters reported.