Barclays banker made Qatar PM wait – so as not to look desperate, court hears

Former Barclays banker Roger Jenkins is one of four defendants charged over deals with Qatari investors during the global financial crisis. (Getty Images)
Updated 08 February 2019
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Barclays banker made Qatar PM wait – so as not to look desperate, court hears

  • Four plead not guilty in first UK trial of senior bankers linked to the 2008 global financial crisis
  • Roger Jenkins and three other former Barclays executives are charged with conspiring to defraud investors by not disclosing £322 million in secret fees that were paid to the Qataris

LONDON: A former Barclays banker said he pretended to be busy to avoid appearing panicked while negotiating a £2 billion ($2.6 billion) investment from Qatar during the 2008 financial crisis that saved the bank from a government bailout.

Roger Jenkins, the one-time chairman of the Middle Eastern banking unit, Tom Kalaris, a former wealth division CEO and Richard Boath, ex-European divisional head, are charged with conspiracy to commit fraud. Barclays received £12 billion in emergency funds from mainly Gulf investors during the 2008 crisis.
Jenkins, the head of Barclays Middle East, made Qatar’s then-prime minister wait during a June 2008 meeting so he would not look desperate, according to a phone call played for London jurors at a fraud trial, Bloomberg reported.
The banker told Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani that he would have to leave Qatar’s capital for other meetings.

 

He and three other former Barclays executives are charged with conspiring to defraud investors by not disclosing £322 million in secret fees that were paid to the Qataris, and Sheikh Hamad, as part of the investment that saved the bank from nationalization, the newswire reported.
“I pretended that I had to go back to Dubai for meetings so that I didn’t sleep overnight waiting for the prime minister in Doha,” Jenkins said during a recorded telephone call with Boath.
“And then I turned up an hour late and told him I was caught up in a documents meeting. I had to pretend like I’m so busy.”
The trial began last month, and is expected to last between four and six months.
It is the first UK trial of senior bankers connected with the financial crisis.
The defendants have all pleaded innocent.
If found guilty, they could face up to 10 years in jail.

FASTFACTS

Barclays received £12 billion in emergency funds from mainly Gulf investors during the 2008 crisis.


Hong Kong economy stalls amid US-China trade dispute: finance chief

Updated 17 February 2019
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Hong Kong economy stalls amid US-China trade dispute: finance chief

  • ‘The impact of China-US trade frictions on Hong Kong’s exports has clearly emerged at the end of last year’
  • Economic growth in the semi-autonomous Chinese city for the last quarter of 2018 was less than 1.5 percent

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s economy stalled last year as the ongoing China-US trade dispute and retail woes dragged down local business, the city’s financial chief said Sunday.
Beijing and Washington have already imposed duties on more than $360 billion in two-way trade, roiling global financial markets and weighing heavily on manufacturing output in both countries.
“The impact of China-US trade frictions on Hong Kong’s exports has clearly emerged at the end of last year,” said finance secretary Paul Chan.
Economic growth in the semi-autonomous Chinese city for the last quarter of 2018 was less than 1.5 percent — the weakest since the first quarter of 2016 and a “significant slowdown” from the average growth rate of 3.7 percent in the first three quarters, Chan wrote on his official blog.
The slowdown brought last year’s growth rate to an estimated three percent, down from the higher-than-forecast 3.8 percent recorded in 2017, he added.
“It was almost ‘zero-growth’ for commodities exports in the fourth quarter, which was a sharp drop compared to the average 6 percent growth in the first three quarters,” he wrote.
Chan said consumer sentiment had also dampened with retail sales rising only 2.1 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter, a far cry from the more than 12 percent increase in the first half of the year.
“The external political and economic situation remains unclear ... Therefore, we repeatedly stress the need to support enterprises, safeguard employment, stabilize the economy and benefit people’s livelihoods,” he wrote, hinting at the ongoing trade negotiations between the world’s top two economies.
Chan is expected to deliver the Hong Kong budget on February 27.