Staveley was not a key player – ex-Barclays chief
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.