Bob Diamond dealing despite Serious Fraud Office shock for colleagues

Simon English
Diamond Bob: The former Barclays chief plays a round of golf: Getty Images

His former colleagues are reeling from charges filed by the Serious Fraud Office, but Bob Diamond is still cutting deals.

A day after four top former Barclays executives were charged with fraud that could lead to jail, Diamond’s Atlas Mara vehicle is raising $200 million (£159 million).

Atlas Mara, the venture Diamond founded after he was forced out of Barclays in the wake of the Libor scandal, is selling a 35% stake in itself to Fairfax Africa, an investment fund run by Canadian insurer Fairfax Financial.

Atlas will raise $100 million from an open placing and another $100 million from a convertible bond.

Some of the money raised, $55 million, will be spent on upping Atlas’s stake in Union Bank of Nigeria from 13.4% to 44.5%. The placing is at $2.25 a share, a discount to today’s $2.50 market price. Shares have fallen from $12.50 in December 2013.

Yesterday former Barclays’ men John Varley, Thomas Kalaris, Roger Jenkins and Richard Boath were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, over £346 million paid to Qatari investors at the time of a £12 billion fund raiser Barclays needed to stay afloat during the financial crisis.

Diamond was almost certainly interviewed by the SFO but has not been charged.

Another of his ventures, Atlas Merchant Capital, took over Panmure Gordon in March. Though that deal was seen as Diamond’s return to the City, it is not clear how hands-on he intends to be at Panmure.