Stave­ley was not a key player – ex-Bar­clays chief

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By

Lucy Bur­ton

JOHN VAR­LEY, the for­mer Bar­clays boss, has ar­gued that fi­nancier Amanda Stave­ley’s “lit­tle-known” firm over­stated its role in a fi­nan­cial cri­sis-era cash call at the heart of a £1.6bn le­gal bat­tle.

Giv­ing ev­i­dence to the High Court, Mr Var­ley said Ms Stave­ley’s busi­ness – PCP – was not a key player dur­ing an emer­gency fundrais­ing in 2008 when in­vestors from Abu Dhabi and Qatar saved Bar­clays. He also re­vealed that the Qatari premier had con­tacted Gor­don Brown, prime min­is­ter at the time, seek­ing “re­as­sur­ance” that Bar­clays would not be pres­sured into a UK tax­payer bailout that would “di­lute” his coun­try’s in­vest­ment.

Ms Stave­ley is su­ing the bank over claims that PCP was treated un­fairly dur­ing the res­cue, when it rep­re­sented Abu Dhabi in­vestors.

Mr Var­ley said in his wit­ness state­ment that he be­lieved PCP “greatly over­states its own role and sig­nif­i­cance in the events of Oc­to­ber 2008”. He said Bar­clays was af­ter in­vestors with deep pock­ets as well as “in­stant name recog­ni­tion and cred­i­bil­ity in the mind of the mar­ket” so that their back­ing would be a “source of com­fort in a very jit­tery en­vi­ron­ment”.

PCP would not have ful­filled that cri­te­ria, Mr Var­ley said, dis­miss­ing it as a “lit­tle-known party with un­known fi­nan­cial re­sources and no track record as an in­vestor in the pub­lic mar­kets”. Ms Stave­ley’s con­tact Sheikh Man­sour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, whom she also helped buy Manch­ester City FC, be­came the bank’s largest share­holder af­ter con­tribut­ing £3.5bn. Qatar’s wealth fund also in­jected £2.3bn into the bank.

The busi­ness­woman is su­ing Bar­clays over claims that PCP did not re­ceive the same fees as the Qatari in­vestors. How­ever, Bar­clays ar­gues that she was only an ad­viser and not an in­vestor.

The case con­tin­ues.

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