Barclays and Staveley spar in trial over 2008 Qatar deal

Amanda Staveley helped Barclays to get Abu Dhabi investment to avert a state bailout in 2008. (Reuters)
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Updated 17 October 2020

Barclays and Staveley spar in trial over 2008 Qatar deal

  • The bank is accused of striking a better deal with Qatar than with its Abu Dhabi investors in securing emergency funds

LONDON: A High Court clash between Barclays and British businesswoman Amanda Staveley, over whether she was deceived while negotiating a financial lifeline for the bank at the height of the credit crisis, drew to a close on Friday.

Staveley is claiming hundreds of millions of pounds in damages from Barclays in a civil case that started in June and hinges on how the bank secured emergency funds from Qatar and Abu Dhabi and averted a state bailout in October 2008.
Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners, which led a £3.25 billion ($4.2 billion) Abu Dhabi-backed investment, alleges it was induced to fund Barclays on much worse terms than Qatar — despite assurances it would get the same deal.
PCP, which reduced its maximum damages claim to £836 million from £1.5 billion during the trial, alleges Barclays paid Qatar £346 million in secret fees and handed the Gulf state a $3 billion loan that almost matched Qatar’s investment.
Qatar said after the February fraud trial that two additional services agreements with Barclays, agreed in June and October 2008, were genuine.
Had PCP been aware of these “very sweet” terms, it would have sought a better deal, it alleged.
The case turned the spotlight back on Barclays’ arrangements with Qatar four months after three senior bank executives were acquitted of fraud in a criminal case over advisory service agreements it struck with the Gulf nation in 2008.
Barclays alleged it had struck separate commercial agreements with Qatar and that PCP’s case was “wrong at every stage.” Testifying during the trial, Barclays’ former top rainmaker Roger Jenkins accepted he might have used the words “same deal” to Staveley, but said he would have intended to refer to Qatar subscribing for the same instruments.

HIGHLIGHTS

● Case revolves around Barclays’ October 2008 fundraising.

● Staveley’s PCP reduces maximum damages claim to £836 million.

● Alleges Barclays handed rival Qatari investors “sweeter” deal.

After a dispute about whether PCP was a potential investor or merely an adviser to Abu Dhabi, Barclays noted Staveley may have hoped to participate as a principal — but alleged she did not suffer a loss due to Barclays’ actions.
The bank said PCP was paid a “handsome” £30 million by Abu Dhabi and attacked Staveley as a “thoroughly unreliable witness,” who used “embellishment and invention” and whose modus operandi was to “duck and weave.”
Twelve years ago, bankers used sexist and demeaning language when discussing the financier and criticized her professional competence.
Apologising, one resigned as a senior bank lobbyist in June before the comments were aired.
Nevertheless, the bank relied on the then 34-year-old to bring on board Abu Dhabi royal Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan to help secure its independent future. A judgment is expected later.


50% of workers fear losing job in next 12 months: Global economic survey

Updated 54 min 22 sec ago

50% of workers fear losing job in next 12 months: Global economic survey

  • Saudi adults more optimistic of developing new skills for future jobs
  • 195m jobs lost worldwide amid COVID-19 pandemic: Egyptian minister

DUBAI: More than half the global workforce fears being made redundant in the next 12 months, according to a World Economic Forum-Ipsos survey.

The study, released on the eve of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Jobs Reset Summit, questioned 12,000 adults in 27 countries about employment prospects during the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

And although at least 50 percent were concerned about losing their jobs over the coming year, two-thirds of workers worldwide said they could learn the skills needed for the jobs of the future through their current employer.

In Saudi Arabia, less than 20 percent of those who took part in the survey were very concerned about their jobs disappearing, compared to 39 percent in Spain.

While the findings painted an overall gloomy picture of the global job situation amid the COVID-19 outbreak, they also highlighted green shoots of optimism, particularly in the Kingdom.

Around 18 percent of Saudi workers were not at all worried about losing their jobs, more than the global average of 17 percent.

On learning, Saudis were even more enthusiastic, with 39 percent confident of gaining the necessary skills to compete for the new job opportunities of the future.

During a WEF discussion on the impact of the global health crisis on employment, Rania Al-Mashat, the Egyptian minister for international cooperation, described the COVID-19 pandemic as a mix of many crises that had rendered 195 million people jobless around the world.

But she said that Egypt’s young population offered great opportunities for the country and the government had already rolled out plans to tap into youth development before the virus outbreak.

“The Egyptian government has taken comprehensive measures to reshape the education system incorporating a significant technology element to the sector and this turned out to be very useful for home schooling during the lockdown,” the minister added during a session titled, “Building a New Economy and Society.”

Al-Mashat pointed out that Egypt was adopting the principles of stakeholder capitalism, and in order to utilize the energies of its youth had been actively creating entrepreneurial space and building a strong digital infrastructure. She said there had been many policy movements, especially in the creation of gender equality accelerators.

Alan Jope, the CEO of Unilever and a speaker in the same session, said COVID-19 was not the only current world crisis, adding that economic, health, geopolitical, trade wars, climate change, capital wars, and a few looming military conflicts could be added to a global list of crises.

He also noted that gross domestic product (GDP) should not be considered the only economic measure. “Our measures for success need to change, we’ll have to look at social and environmental parameters, and not just the GDP.”

Jope predicted plenty of future jobs but not in traditional areas of work. “Most of the jobs will be created in the low-carbon sector, along with the IT and biotech industries,” he said.