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.


China aims for sustained and healthy economic development

Updated 30 October 2020

China aims for sustained and healthy economic development

  • Beijing to let market forces play decisive role in resources allocation, report says

BEIJING: China is targeting sustained and healthy economic development in the five years to 2025, with an emphasis on a higher quality of growth, the Xinhua news agency said on Thursday, citing the ruling Communist Party’s Central Committee.

President Xi Jinping and members of the Central Committee, the largest of the ruling party’s elite decision-making bodies, met behind closed doors from Monday to lay out the 14th five-year plan, a blueprint for economic and social development.

China’s external environment “is getting more complicated,” the agency said, adding, “There is a significant increase in instabilities and uncertainties.”

BACKGROUND

China aims to boost its gross domestic product (GDP) per person to the level of moderately developed countries by 2035, while GDP is due to top 100 trillion yuan ($15 trillion) in 2020.

However, the country’s development was still in a period of important strategic opportunities, despite new challenges, it said.

It added that China aims to boost its gross domestic product (GDP) per person to the level of moderately developed countries by 2035, while GDP is due to top 100 trillion yuan ($15 trillion) in 2020.

China will also deepen reforms and let market forces play a decisive role in resources allocation, the agency said.

China will promote a “dual circulation” model, make self-sufficiency in technology a strategic pillar for development, move to develop and urbanize regions, and combine efforts to expand domestic demand with supply-side reforms, it added.

The “dual circulation” strategy, first proposed by Xi in May, envisages that China’s next phase of development will depend mainly on “domestic circulation” or an internal cycle of production, distribution and consumption, backed by domestic technological innovation.