Barclays eyes £4bn share sale as SFO probe gathers pace

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Barclays is reportedly considering raising £4bn to respond to capital concerns as the Treasury looks to give £2m in extra funding to the Serious Fraud Office as part of its investigation into the bank’s emergency fundraising five years ago.

The Sunday Times reports investors were approached last week by advisers acting for the bank over a potential rights issue. 

The newspaper says the cash call would aim to answer concerns raised by the Bank of England that Barclays is struggling to meet new capital rules which require all British banks to hold capital equivalent to 3 per cent of the money they have lent.

It comes as the Financial Times reports the SFO is to get special funding for its investigation into how Barclays raised capital during the financial crisis.

It would be the second time the SFO has been granted special funding under its director David Green, who was also granted a similar amount for his investigation into the Libor scandal.

The FT reports the SFO is examining the £66m of arrangement fees paid to Qatar Holding in June 2008 and allegations the bank secretly loaned Qatar the money to reinvest in the bank.

Barclays’ initial cash call saw investment vehicle Qatar Holding, Challenger invest a total of £4.5bn in the bank.

It then raised £7.3bn in capital in October 2008 from Abu Dhabi sources. This enabled the bank to stay out of Government control.

Both Barclays and the SFO declined to comment on the matter.

Barclays is to announce its second quarter results tomorrow in which it is expected to announce an increase in underlying pre-tax profit of 19 per cent to £3.1bn.