An ex-Barclays banker who helped negotiate two emergency fundraisings in 2008 was unwilling to “take a hit” to save the jobs of John Varley or Bob Diamond, respectively CEO and head of Barclays’ investment bank at the time, a UK court heard on Monday.
Roger Jenkins, former head of Middle East operations, is being prosecuted along with Mr Varley and two other Barclays bankers in a case brought by the Serious Fraud Office that alleges the four men lied to the market about £322m of fees paid to Qatar during emergency cash calls by Barclays in June and October 2008. The four men all deny wrongdoing.
On Monday, the jury was played extracts of interviews that one of the defendants, Richard Boath, gave under caution to the SFO in 2014.
Mr Boath told the SFO in his interview that in June 2008 he had been asked by Mr Jenkins to look at ways in which the Qataris could receive a higher 3.5 per cent commission fee for the cash call — compared with the 1.75 per cent fee other investors were receiving.
Mr Jenkins told him the Qataris liked the idea of an “advisory services agreement” but Mr Boath said there were problems and other investors “would go nuts” if they found out that Barclays had offered a “sweetheart deal” to Qatar.
Mr Boath told the SFO: “I said: ‘Hang on Roger before we get too far down the road we can’t do that . . . and give one set of economics to one set of investors and we have a different set of economics for another set of investors — if they found out they would go completely nuts.’”
“His words — I remember them vividly — were: ‘F*** that, I’m not taking a hit to save John and Bob’s job.’”
Mr Boath also told the SFO in his interview that a few days later he had been on a call with Mark Harding, Barclays’ general counsel, who is not accused of wrongdoing, in which “very clear legal advice” was given on having an ASA. Mr Boath said he “relied on” this advice and it was “repeated through the transaction” but he could not specify what the advice was.
He said the involvement of senior Barclays lawyers who were “all over” the ASA in June 2008 quelled any misgivings he had.
The trial continues.
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