Businesswoman in £1.6bn battle with Barclays was ‘complete unknown’, judge told

A former Barclays boss has told a judge that a businesswoman embroiled in a £1.6 billion battle with the bank over deals done during the 2008 financial crisis had been a “complete unknown” in terms of complex market transactions.

Roger Jenkins said at the time Amanda Staveley had received “some publicity” for her role in brokering an investment in Manchester City.

But he told Mr Justice Waksman that, as far as he knew, she had “no qualifications in finance”.

The judge has heard that Mr Jenkins referred to Ms Staveley as “the tart” during an October 2008 telephone call with fellow Barclays boss Richard Boath.

Mr Boath referred to her as “that dolly -bird” during the call.

Amanda Staveley legal action
Former Barclays boss Roger Jenkins arrives to give evidence at a High Court trial (Brian Farmer/PA)

Ms Staveley, 47, has made complaints about the behaviour of Barclays bosses when negotiating investment deals during the crisis 12 years ago.

She says Barclays agreed to provide an unsecured £2 billion loan to Qatari investors but the loan was “concealed” from the market, shareholders and PCP Capital Partners, a private equity firm she runs.

PCP is suing the bank and wants £1.6 billion in damages.

Ms Staveley, who in recent months has been involved in brokering a deal which could see a Saudi consortium take control of Newcastle United, says PCP introduced Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour to Barclays and he “subscribed” to invest £3.25 billion.

She says PCP is owed money for the work it did.

Barclays disputes PCP’s claim and says it is made “of sand”.

Mr Justice Waksman began overseeing a trial on June 8 which is due to end in August.

“Ms Staveley, as leader of PCP, had received some publicity by 2008 for her role in brokering the Abu Dhabi investment in a major English football club, but she was a complete unknown in terms of large, complex, public market transactions of the kind we were undertaking,” Mr Jenkins, who was Barclays executive chairman of Middle East business in 2008, told the judge in a written witness statement.

“So far as I knew at the time PCP did not employ experienced analysts familiar with the finance sector and Ms Staveley herself had no qualifications in finance.”

He said he knew little about Ms Staveley’s background in 2008.

“I was aware that she had once owned a restaurant by a racecourse and that was how she had made connections with Middle Eastern individuals,” he said.

“I knew that she had played a role in Sheikh Mansour’s purchase of Manchester City.”

He added: “My assumption and hope at the time was that Barclays would deal with Sheikh Mansour directly as the principal, not through advisers.

“I assumed that Ms Staveley would be happy with this as she would, I assumed, be paid a fee by Sheikh Mansour.

“I did not at any point understand PCP to be acting as a principal, or as a prospective investor in its own right.”

Mr Jenkins said his impression was that Ms Staveley was seeking to use her involvement in the deal to “generate publicity for herself”.

He told how Ms Staveley arrived for one early-morning meeting accompanied by a photographer.

Lawyers representing PCP referred to the telephone conversation between Mr Boath and Ms Staveley early in the trial.

Barclays court case
Former Barclays boss Richard Boath (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Detail of the words used emerged on Thursday, when Mr Jenkins began giving evidence and a transcript of the call was made available to journalists.

Mr Boath said, during the October 2008 call: “Yes. Now, that dolly -bird that represents – is it – what’s her name?”, the transcript showed.

Mr Jenkins replied: “Amanda Staveley.”

Later in the call, Mr Jenkins said: “Well I am – you know, I’m going to call the tart; I was going to call the tart.”

Mr Boath asked: “Who’s the tart?”

Mr Jenkins replied: “Amanda.”

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