Ex-Barclays boss speculated about businesswoman ‘sleeping with’ sheikh

A former Barclays boss speculated about whether a businesswoman embroiled in a £1.6 billion High Court battle with the bank was “sleeping with” Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour, a judge has been told.

Stephen Jones, who left Barclays nine years ago and resigned from his latest job earlier this summer, made the comment about Amanda Staveley in a telephone call with another then-bank boss in October 2008, saying: “Whether she’s sleeping with him or not I couldn’t tell you …”

He also, in a separate 2008 phone call with the same colleague, referred to Ms Staveley, 47, as being as “thick as shit” and having “large breasts”, Mr Justice Waksman heard.

A lawyer instructed by Ms Staveley, who has made complaints about the behaviour of Barclays bosses when negotiating investment deals during the 2008 financial crisis, told a High Court trial in London that she had accepted an apology.

Transcripts of the calls were issued as Mr Jones began giving evidence.

Mr Jones went on to be a boss at Santander UK, then chief executive of financial services trade association UK Finance, the judge heard.

Amanda Staveley legal action
Former Barclays boss Stephen Jones arrives at the High Court in London on Thursday to give evidence in a £1.6 battle involving the bank and businesswoman Amanda Staveley (Brian Farmer/PA)

He had stepped down from his role at UK Finance earlier this summer, following the start of the Barclays trial and after the judge ruled that transcripts of calls would be made public, saying: “I have apologised to Ms Staveley and to my colleagues for the comments made in 2008 and feel at this time it is right I step down from my role at UK Finance.”

Mr Jones also issued an apology, in a statement from a spokesman outside court, on Thursday.

“Stephen has been very clear his comments were wholly inappropriate and do not meet the standards of language and behaviour we rightly expect,” said the spokesman.

“He was very grateful and touched that Amanda Staveley has accepted his apology.”

Ms Staveley, who in recent months has been involved in brokering a deal which could see a Saudi consortium take control of Newcastle United FC, says Barclays agreed to provide an unsecured £2 billion loan to Qatari investors.

But she says 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.

Amanda Staveley legal action
File photo dated 18/07/18 of a Barclays Bank in London. A High Court judge is overseeing a £1.6 billion fight between a high-profile businesswoman and Barclays (Ian West/PA)

Ms Staveley says PCP introduced Sheikh Mansour to Barclays and he “subscribed” to invest £3.25 billion.

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

Barclays says PCP’s claim is made “of sand” and should be dismissed.

Earlier in the trial, Roger Jenkins, another former Barclays boss, who had referred to Ms Staveley as “the tart” in a phone call, had also apologised.

Mr Jenkins, and another former Barclays boss, Richard Boath, had discussed Ms Staveley during another telephone call in October 2008, the judge heard.

Mr Jenkins referred to Ms Staveley as “the tart” and Mr Boath referred to her as “that dolly bird”.

Mr Jones had discussed Mr Jenkins when interviewed by the Serious Fraud Office five years ago, Mr Justice Waksman heard.

A lawyer representing PCP said Mr Jones had described Mr Jenkins as “a deeply unpleasant man and very, very nasty to work for”.

He had said Mr Jenkins worked for “Roger Jenkins Plc” not “Barclays Plc”.

In February, Mr Jenkins, Mr Boath and Thomas Kalaris, another former Barclays boss, were cleared of fraud over a £4 billion investment deal with Qatar at the height of the banking crisis.

The Serious Fraud Office had alleged that lucrative terms given to Qatar were hidden from the market.

But the three men were acquitted after a trial at the Old Bailey.

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