Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 25 October 2020

Barclays banker ‘lied’ to prominent dealmaker to secure UAE funding

Financier Amanda Staveley is suing the British lender for up to £1.6bn

Former Barclays Middle East investment chief Roger Jenkins. Getty
Former Barclays Middle East investment chief Roger Jenkins. Getty

One of Britain’s best-paid bankers stood accused of lying about bumper commissions paid to Qatar by the struggling lender Barclays at the height of the 2008 global financial crisis in the UK’s High Court on Wednesday.

Barclays former Middle East investment chief Roger Jenkins, who was acquitted of fraud earlier this year over the £11 billion (Dh51bn) fund-raising operation, allegedly misled the markets and financier Amanda Staveley, whose company secured £3.25bn from the United Arab Emirates.

He later falsely claimed in emails to his bosses that his contact, Qatar’s former prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jabar Al Thani, was responsible for persuading the UAE to invest, Ms Staveley claimed.

Ms Staveley said she only found out five years after the deal was concluded that Barclays paid Qatar an additional £66m for what it said was its “crucial role” in securing UAE funds in the capital-raising operation.

She also said that the markets were misled about a $3bn (Dh11bn) loan to Qatar that she claims was invested back in the bank, and £322 million of extra commissions for unspecified extra services provided by the Qataris.

In her statement, she said that she realised that “Mr Jenkins lied to me about the terms on which Qatar was investing in Barclays”.

Financier Amanda Staveley is suing Barclays Bank for up to £1.6 billion. Getty
Financier Amanda Staveley is suing Barclays Bank for up to £1.6 billion. Getty

Ms Staveley, who is claiming up to £1.6bn in damages from the bank at a two-month trial in London, began giving evidence on Wednesday about her role in securing investment from Abu Dhabi, which prevented the bank from being taken over by the UK government.

“Barclays had some very highly paid executives (for example Mr Jenkins) whose careers at Barclays would, in my view, be shortened if Barclays found itself in government ownership,” Ms Staveley said.

Mr Jenkins, in emails shown to the court, complained that Ms Staveley was basking in the “limelight” of the completed deal and claimed that he and his socialite wife had done all the hard work.

He claimed that his Bosnia-born wife, Diana, started the bank’s relationship with Qatari investors by striking up a friendship with Sheikh Hamad’s wife. Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and investment vehicles controlled by Sheikh Hamad eventually invested £4bn in Barclays.

“Diana teed up Hamad thru his wife that’s how it began,” he wrote. “So a little credit to the architect,” he said in one email.

“She [Diana] has worked to build my brand with all these heavy hitters and got when it counted nothing!” he complained in a second email to the bank’s then-president, Bob Diamond, in the immediate aftermath of the deal. “Party girl. She now looks like Paris Hilton.”

“Then Amanda gets all the limelight” when all she did was to “execute” the deal that they had started, Mr Jenkins claimed.

Her company, PCP Capital Partners, eventually made £30m in fees from the deal but claims that the lies of Barclays prevented her from getting many times more.

Barclays has described her claim as “opportunistic” and the level of damages claimed as “nonsensical”.

It claims that PCP was acting as a “middleman” for Abu Dhabi rather than as a key investor.

Mr Jenkins is due to give evidence later during the trial that is likely to bring further embarrassing publicity to the bank after years of investigations and a criminal trial that saw three executives acquitted.

Ms Staveley’s lawyers say the latest civil trial is likely to hear allegations of arrogance, sexism and misogyny at the top of the bank and cited comments by Stephen Jones, a former Barclays banker who now heads a prominent finance trade body.

Ms Staveley said in her statement that Mr Jones described her small company PCP in offensive and derogatory terms including as “scumbags” during a phone call with a colleague while the investment was under discussion.

Updated: June 12, 2020 03:29 PM

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