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Three former top Barclays executives have been cleared of fraud charges linked to how the bank raised billions from Qatar in the financial crisis. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) had alleged the bank had given Qatar secret fees that helped it to survive without a UK government bailout in 2008.

Roger Jenkins, Tom Kalaris, and Richard Boath were found not guilty on all charges by the jury in under six hours. Former Barclays chief executive John Varley was acquitted in June 2019.

The acquittal of the three men is a blow to the SFO and draws a line under an ambitious seven-and-a-half-year investigation that led to the first criminal charges in Britain against senior financiers at a major bank over credit crisis-era conduct.

An SFO spokesperson said: “Our prosecution decisions are always based on the evidence that is available, and we are determined to bring perpetrators of serious financial crime to justice.

“Wherever our evidential and public interest tests are met, we will always endeavour to bring this before a court.”

Mr Boath, when leaving the Old Bailey on Friday morning, told the BBC: “I’m very relieved about the verdict, particularly given that I was cleared in 2017 by the Financial Conduct Authority.”

He added that the SFO should never have brought the case.

Mr Boath said the last six years had been tough. But phone calls recorded during the crisis and played to the jury made clear he was innocent. “Obviously there are ups and downs but today is a big up obviously. ”

“I frankly couldn’t have done more in 2008 to make sure the bank didn’t do anything that it regretted and that really comes out on all the tapes and I think that was obvious to the jury.”

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