Barclays misled shareholders, says BBC report

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

London, United Kingdom (4E) – Shareholders of UK bank Barclays could have been misled over a massive investment by the owner of English football club Manchester City, according to a BBC probe.

A BBC Panorama investigation contradicted the announcement made by bank in 2008 that Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour had invested more than £3bn and alleged that the money actually came from the Abu Dhabi government. The infusion helped Barclays avoid a government bailout during the height of the financial crisis..

The bank remained silent about the change and only confirmed it a few hours later, according to the report. Barclays claimed they have made “appropriate disclosures” the following day by releasing three prospectuses.

The bank blamed drafting errors for the mistakes in the accounts and said that the prospectuses they released contained information “appropriate in all the circumstances.”

The BBC Panorama report, however, alleged that the details were buried in the small print, which still referred the investment coming from Sheikh Mansour despite knowing he was not investing in the bank.

The bank kept misleading its shareholders by naming Sheikh Mansour as the investor in its 2008 and 2009 annual reports, according to the Panorama report.

The BBC investigation comes as the bank announced it is shutting down a controversial unit that used to lower tax bills as the bank tries to distance itself from the legacy left by former chief executive Bob Diamond.

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