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Monday, February 11, 2013

BBC Berates Barclays

Barclays and the BBC have fallen out over claims in a Panorama programme entitled "Inside Barclays: Banking on Bonuses", to be broadcast tonight, that Barclays misled shareholders.

As per the BBC:
"After a series of controversies, bosses at Barclays say they're changing the culture of the bank. But what went wrong? Reporter Richard Bilton investigates the bonus culture that drove one of our biggest banks."
Panorama will accuse Barclays wrongly naming Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour as the source of £3BN of bail-out money received during the banking crisis in 2008. The money helped Barclays stave off a government rescue akin to the ones used to prop up RBS and Lloyds TSB.

Panorama will state that the money came from the Abu Dhabi government, and that this was not properly disclosed in its 2008 accounts.

However, Barclays contest that it re-drafted all financial documentation “overnight” once the change had been identified except for one mention in the accounts, which it blames on a “simple drafting error”.

Barclays are quoted by the Evening Standard:
We have repeatedly demonstrated to Panorama why the allegations which they plan to make in their programme are completely unjustified. 

Barclays is satisfied that the steps taken to disclose the change in ownership of the companies which were investing in the bank in 2008 were entirely appropriate. The change in ownership of the investing companies had no bearing on the transaction or required approvals.”
Professor Alistair Milne, an expert on financial regulation in the City, said banks are expected to release accurate information about major deals.
"Any discrepancy of that kind is serious because it raises questions in the minds of investors. Every bank is well aware the annual report is a critical document and a huge amount of time and attention is put in to trying to get all the details correct."

For good measure, the programme also claims that Barclays helped clients avoid tax on an “industrial” scale.

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