During the global financial crisis in 2008 Barclays Bank went cap in hand to a number of big investors in the Middle East in a bid to stave off bankruptcy or nationalisation. But now City of London tycoon Amanda Staveley is suing Barclays over the deal she arranged with Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi.
A British financier who is suing Barclays for £1.5 billion in damages has told a High Court hearing in London she believed the bank had given a £66 million fee to Qatar for introducing them to Libya’s ruler, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
Amanda Staveley, 47, and her company, PCP Capital Partners, are suing Barclays over a deal which was drawn up to save the bank from collapse.
In October 2008 Barclays was seeking to find £7.3 billion in capital in a bid to avoid a British government bailout.
PCP Capital Partners arranged for Sheikh Mansour and Abu Dhabi to come on board with £3.25 billion in funding but Ms Staveley said she only did so on the basis that Abu Dhabi would get the same deal that was being offered to Qatar, who also invested.
PCP’s barrister Joe Smouha QC alleges Qatar had received £346 million in extra fees and a US$3 billion loan from Barclays that almost matched the sum the Qataris were investing.
PCP was paid £30 million for its work.
Earlier this year three senior Barclays executives – Roger Jenkins, 64, Thomas Kalaris, 64, and Richard Boath, 61 – were acquitted of fraud regarding the Qatari deal. Barclays’ former chief executive John Varley was acquitted in June 2019.
On Tuesday, 16 June, Jeffery Onions QC, a barrister representing Barclays, questioned Ms Staveley about her dealings with the bank between 29 and 31 October 2008.
Ms Staveley flew from London to Cairo and later travelled to Abu Dhabi but she said she was in constant communication with her bankers, Goldman Sachs, and with senior Barclays officials, including Roger Jenkins, their investment banking chief.
Mr Onions mentioned one of the fees the Qataris were paid – £66 million – and asked her why she thought they were being paid such a sum.
Ms Staveley said she thought the figure could be a payment for Qatar’s then ruler, Sheikh Hamad, introducing Barclays to Libya’s government, headed at the time by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
Libya never did provide any funding for Barclays.
Ms Staveley said: “I didn’t really think it was an issue. I thought there would be some explanation.”
Mr Onions said: “It would have meant Qatar was getting a fee that Abu Dhabi was not getting?”
Ms Staveley replied: “Yes. I was told it was the same deal. I was assured by Mr Jenkins. I was entirely comfortable with that.”
She said that at one point Mr Jenkins became “menacing” during a phone call to her but she said she believed it was because of the pressure he was under.
After concluding the deal Ms Staveley and colleagues celebrated at the exclusive London nightclub Annabel’s and in the next few days she spoke to a Sunday Times journalist who wrote an article about the deal in which she was referred to as the former girlfriend of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.
Mr Onions accused Ms Staveley of “inventing” parts of her evidence during Tuesday’s hearing.
She replied: “I’m furious that you would say that.”
The hearing took place remotely, because of the coronavirus crisis, with Mr Onions, Ms Staveley and the judge, Mr Justice David Waksman, all in separate rooms and connected by Zoom.
The trial is due to conclude later this week.
Ms Staveley is currently fronting another group, that includes the Saudi sovereign wealth fund PIF, which is negotiating a takeover of Premier League side Newcastle United.