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.


UK inflation rises in April by less than Bank of England expected

Updated 22 May 2019
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UK inflation rises in April by less than Bank of England expected

  • Consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in April after a 1.9 percent increase in March
  • Electricity and gas prices were the biggest driver of inflation last month

LONDON: British inflation rose last month by less than the Bank of England and investors had expected, but still hit its highest level this year, pushed up by a rise in energy bills.
Consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in April after a 1.9 percent increase in March, the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a rate of 2.2 percent, the same as the BoE’s forecast.
Sterling and government bonds were little changed by the data as core inflation, which excludes energy and food prices, held steady at 1.8 percent for the third month in a row.
“In principle, this is another reason to think the Bank of England will keep rates on hold for the foreseeable future,” ING economist James Smith said.
But he added that a strong labor market meant an interest rate hike in November could not be ruled out.
A recent weakening of inflation, combined with the lowest unemployment rate in 44 years and rising wages, has taken the edge off the uncertainty about Brexit for many households whose spending drives Britain’s economy.
But Britain’s energy regulator raised a price cap on energy providers by 10 percent with effect from April, and all big six suppliers raised their standard prices by the same amount, which the BoE said would push inflation above target briefly.
Electricity and gas prices were the biggest driver of inflation last month, the ONS said.
Computer game and package holiday prices helped to offset the impact of the higher bills.
The ONS figures also suggested less short-term pressure in the pipeline for consumer prices than expected.
Manufacturers’ costs for raw materials — many of them imported — were 3.8 percent higher than in April 2018, much less than the 4.5 percent rise predicted by the Reuters poll.
The ONS said house prices in March rose by an annual 1.4 percent across the United Kingdom as a whole compared with 1.0 percent in February, marking the first increase in house price inflation since September.
Prices in London alone fell by 1.9 percent, a smaller drop than in February.
The ONS also revised down its estimate for Britain’s budget deficit in the last 2018/19 financial year that ended in March.
The headline measure of public sector net borrowing amounted to £23.5 billion ($29.8 billion) that year or 1.1 percent of gross domestic product, compared with the previous estimate of £24.7 billion or 1.2 percent of GDP.
In April, the first year of the 2019/20 financial year, the deficit stood at £5.8 billion, as expected by economists.