Turkish lira firms as markets reopen with eye on US row

The lira, which has weakened 37 percent against the US currency this year, firmed to 5.9905 from Friday’s close of 6.00. (AFP/File)
Updated 27 August 2018
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Turkish lira firms as markets reopen with eye on US row

  • The slide has been driven by concerns over Erdogan’s grip on monetary policy and the standoff with Washington
  • Erdogan has cast the lira slide as the result of an “economic war” against Turkey

ISTANBUL: The Turkish lira gained slightly against the dollar on Monday as markets reopened after last week’s holiday, with investors set to refocus on a bitter dispute between Ankara and Washington over an American pastor being tried in Turkey.
The lira, which has weakened 37 percent against the US currency this year, firmed to 5.9905 from Friday’s close of 6.00 — the same level at which it stood a week ago when Turkish markets closed for the Muslim festival of Eid Al-Adha.
The slide has been driven by investor concerns over President Tayyip Erdogan’s grip on monetary policy and the standoff with Washington over the fate of pastor Andrew Brunson, being tried in Turkey on terrorism charges that he denies.
In his first comments on the currency crisis since before the holiday, Erdogan said on Saturday the commitment and determination of Turks was the guarantee needed to combat attacks on Turkey’s economy.
Erdogan has cast the lira slide as the result of an “economic war” against Turkey, a comment echoed by his spokesman last week when US President Donald Trump ruled out concessions to Ankara in return for Brunson’s release.
Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, subsequently said Ankara had made a “big mistake” by not freeing Brunson and voiced skepticism about Qatar’s offer of $15 billion in investment support for Turkey.


Barclays payments to Qatar would have been ‘unacceptable’ to market, London court hears

Updated 6 min 47 sec ago
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Barclays payments to Qatar would have been ‘unacceptable’ to market, London court hears

  • The UK Serious Fraud Office alleges that four bankers agreed to pay £322 million in secret fees to Qatar
  • It is claimed that Barclays agreed to pay Qatar more than double the standard 1.5 percent investment commission and hid this from other investors

LONDON: Former Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius could not remember if he was told the bank was paying higher fees to Qatar than other investors during an £11.2 billion ($14.6 billion) fundraising in the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, a London court heard on Tuesday.

However he said that paying such commission to one set of underwriters and not the other would have been “unacceptable to the market.” Agius is not accused of any wrongdoing.

He was the first witness to testify in the trial of four former Barclays executives, who include the then CEO John Varley.

“I would have wanted to understand why it would’ve been necessary,” he told the court.

The UK Serious Fraud Office alleges that the four bankers agreed to pay £322 million in secret fees to Qatar.

During the fraud trial — which began in January — the prosecution told the court that the then Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim demanded a personal fee for investing in Barclays.

It is claimed that Barclays agreed to pay Qatar more than double the standard 1.5 percent investment commission and hid this from other investors by making the payments through what prosecutors alleged were bogus Advisory Services Agreements, or ASAs, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Agius also told the court that he feared resignations from the board in 2008.

“Any one of them might have said, ‘This wasn’t what I signed up for, how do I get out of here?,’” he said.

“I’m clear that in June 2008 we at Barclays did not anticipate how much worse things were going to get. I don’t think we thought it was going to go as badly as it ultimately did.”