Barclays hoped 2008 money name would drive worldwide progress, courtroom advised

LONDON (Reuters) – Barclays believed offers with strategic traders through the 2008 monetary disaster would assist to supply a springboard for its worldwide ambitions, the financial institution’s former chairman advised a London felony trial on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: The Barclays emblem is seen in entrance of a inventory graph on this illustration taken June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Marcus Agius, known as as a prosecution witness within the fraud trial of 4 former senior colleagues, mentioned the financial institution had hoped to safe partnerships that might reinforce the financial institution’s international ambitions by granting Barclays “favoured nation standing” for future enterprise alternatives with traders akin to Qatar.

“That was the way it was put and that was how the board understood it,” the veteran banker advised a packed courtroom.

Former Barclays’ chief government John Varley and three former senior executives Roger Jenkins, Tom Kalaris and Richard Boath, deny conspiring to commit fraud by false illustration when the financial institution raised greater than 11 billion kilos from traders in 2008 to avert a British state bailout.

Prosecutor Edward Brown alleges the lads didn’t correctly disclose an additional 322 million kilos in charges paid to the Qatari traders by so-called “advisory service agreements” through the monetary disaster and that different traders that took half within the two capital raisings – from Abu Dhabi, China, Singapore and Japan – would have anticipated the identical phrases.

Agius, in a light-weight gray swimsuit, advised Southwark Crown Courtroom that in June 2008, Barclays initially thought a cope with Qatar can be fascinating, however not important. However markets turned more and more febrile in direction of the top of that summer season.

In October 2008, simply 4 months after an preliminary capital elevating, Barclays turned once more to Qatar – and Abu Dhabi – for a second emergency fundraising to stave off state management.

Agius mentioned he didn’t bear in mind frenetic to-ing and fro-ing between the financial institution’s executives and Qatari traders about charges, however mentioned that the board wished to keep away from the restrictions of a British authorities sector-wide bailout – and {that a} cope with traders akin to Qatar appeared “wise”, if complicated.

Requested if he remembered being advised that the Qataris had laughed at Barclays officers, who, in accordance with Oct. 22 board assembly minutes, had supplied them 120 million kilos in charges, Agius replied: “No.”

The case marks the Critical Fraud Workplace’s first felony costs filed in Britain towards such senior bankers over monetary crisis-era conduct.

The trial has charted how the Barclays executives battled to clinch a cope with Qatari traders who made powerful calls for. Varley described the traders as “new cocks of the roost” in an electronic mail to Agius on June 5, 2008, which was proven to the courtroom.

Agius mentioned his relationship with Varley was “all the time wonderful” and that he thought of him inventive and brave with a formidable work charge. “I regarded him as a person of utmost integrity, excessive intelligence … somebody dedicated to see the financial institution succeed,” he mentioned.

Qatar Holding, a part of the Qatar Funding Authority sovereign wealth fund, and Challenger, an funding automobile of former Qatari prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, which invested in Barclays in 2008, haven’t been accused of wrongdoing.

The trial is scheduled to last as long as six months.

Reporting by Kirstin Ridley. Enhancing by Jane Merriman

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