Clifford Chance on standby to advise Barclays on SFO Qatar probe

Barclays is understood to be seeking further advice from Clifford Chance after the SFO launched an investigation into Qatar payments.

The regulator, which has the power to set criminal sanctions, is probing fees paid to the sovereign investor Qatar Holding in 2008.

The new investigation will run in parallel with the FSA’s similar examination of the bank’s fundraising. It is the latest in a series of blows for the bank.

Internally, Barclays has established an independent review of its business practices led by former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer senior partner Anthony Salz.

It was fined £290m by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the FSA over Libor rigging, turning to a Sullivan & Cromwell US-based team made up of criminal defence and investigations partner Steven Peikin, litigation managing partner David Braff, litigation partner Jeffrey Scott and special counsel Matthew Fitzwater (30 July 2012).

Clifford Chance advised on the UK side of the record fine. The firm refused to confirm if it had been instructed on this latest investigation.

Barclays is one of a number of firms fingered over the interest swap mis-selling scam and is using Matthew Arnold & Baldwin as well as Simmons & Simmons for some cases (2 July 2012).

The bank is also the defendant in the first such case to reach court, as Cooke Young & Keidan partner Philip Young is acting on behalf of Guardian Care Homes in a claim against Barclays (7 August 2012).

It has also lost chief executive Bob Diamond and chairman Marcus Agius to the scandal.