Roger Jenkins, once one of Britain’s highest-paid bankers, referred to Amanda Staveley as a “tart” in a phone call as Barclays bank sought to arrange £7.3bn in emergency funds at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, the High Court has heard.
Mr Jenkins, the former chairman of Barclays’ Middle East business, who was paid £37m in 2007 and nicknamed “big dog” by colleagues, was testifying as the UK bank defended a £1.5bn civil lawsuit brought against it by financier Ms Staveley’s investment firm PCP, over its 2008 fundraising with Qatar.
PCP, which led a parallel fundraising by Abu Dhabi, alleges that Barclays made secret side arrangements and paid undisclosed fees to Qatar as part of two £4bn cash calls, which helped the bank avoid a humiliating UK government bailout. Barclays denies wrongdoing.
On Thursday, it also emerged that Mr Jenkins and ex-colleague Richard Boath referred to Ms Staveley as “dolly bird” in a call on October 14 2008. On the call Mr Jenkins also jokes about giving another banker “a little bit of cocaine so he speaks a little bit quicker”.
In a transcript released to the court, the two men talked about possible investors for Barclays’ October 2008 fundraising. Mr Jenkins then told Mr Boath: “Well, I am — you know, I’m going to call the tart; I was going to call the tart.”
Mr Boath asked: “Who’s the tart?”
Mr Jenkins replied: “Amanda.”
In the conversation Mr Boath also refers to Ms Staveley as a “dolly bird”, while Mr Jenkins said she had been told to call him and added: “I can handle dolly birds.”
The trial has already heard that Mr Jenkins, who received a £25m bonus after spearheading the Qatari fundraisings, complained about Ms Staveley taking the limelight from his then wife Diana Jenkins, who introduced Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, then Qatar prime minister, to Mr Jenkins and Barclays.
The bank contends that Sheikh Hamad — not Ms Staveley — introduced Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour as an investor in October 2008.
The trial is shining the spotlight on sexism in the banking sector before the 2008 financial crisis.
PCP’s barrister Joe Smouha QC has already told the trial that evidence in the case, particularly telephone transcripts between bankers, show a “particularly unpleasant type of what would now be called, I suppose, banter”. He said the calls reveal “the pre-global financial crisis arrogance, ethical carelessness, focus on bonuses, on money, on jobs and, unfortunately, also sexism and misogyny”.
Former Barclays executive Stephen Jones, who is due to stand as a witness for the lender, resigned as chief executive of bank lobby group UK Finance over derogatory comments he made about Ms Staveley in 2008, which are likely to be aired later in the case.
Mr Jenkins, who was acquitted of fraud charges linked to the 2008 fundraising after a criminal trial earlier this year, says in his witness statement that Ms Staveley “overstated her role in events” as Barclays “would never have entrusted an outfit such as PCP” to raise capital on its behalf.
He says that in October 2008 he tried to get Ms Staveley to introduce him directly to Sheikh Mansour. “Ms Staveley’s efforts to block our contact with Sheikh Mansour surprised and frustrated me,” he said. The case continues.
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