Qatar Holding sells Barclays' warrants worth $1.24 bn

Qatar Holding, the investment arm of the country's sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority,  yesterday said it had sold its remaining warrants in Barclays Plc valued at about £771 million ($1.24 billion), but continues to remain the the London-based bank's biggest shareholder.

Doha-based Qatar Holding, which came to the rescue of Barclays during the 2007-2009 global recession, said it had sold its remaining holding of 379 million of Barclays warrants.

''We remain a supportive strategic investor in Barclays, and maintain our confidence in the long-term prospects for the business,'' Ahmad Al-Sayed, Qatar Holding's CEO said in a statement.

Deutsche Bank AG and Goldman Sachs said in a statement that they would offer up to 303.3 million ordinary shares of Barclays to institunial investors for 244 pence to 248 pence per share.

Barclays raised £7 billion of capital from investors in June 2008, which included the Abu Dhabi and Qatar sovereign wealth funds following the start of the financial crisis in 2007.

The bank had come under fire at the time for turning to Middle Eastern funders to raise money and therby avoiding stringent terms for a government bailout after it lost billions of pounds from credit-related asset writedowns.

Already in the dock over the Libor scandal, the bank is now being probed by the UK Serious Fraud Office and US government agencies for having paid around £300 million as advisory fees tabled as certain commercial agreements between Barclays and Qatar Holding.