13:26, June 19 106 0 theguardian.com

2020-06-19 13:26:03
Amanda Staveley in tears after Barclays lawyer accuses her of engaging in a 'hustle'

A businesswoman embroiled in a £1.5bn high court battle with Barclays broke down in tears after bank bosses accused her of engaging in a “hustle”.

Amanda Staveley has made complaints about bank bosses’ behaviour when negotiating investment deals during the 2008 financial crisis.

Staveley said Barclays agreed to provide an unsecured £2bn loan to Qatari investors. But she said that loan was “concealed” from the market, shareholders and from PCP Capital Partners, the private equity firm she ran. PCP is suing the bank and wants £1.5bn in damages.

Staveley said PCP was owed money for the work it did. Barclays disputes the claim and says it is “made of sand”.

Mr Justice Waksman began overseeing a trial in London two weeks ago, which is due to last two months.

A barrister leading the bank’s legal team on Friday spent 29 minutes putting Barclays’ case to Staveley.

Jeffery Onions QC suggested Staveley had seen an opportunity to “insert” herself into negotiations, had effectively engaged in a “hustle”, was prepared to “lie” in order to extract money she was not entitled to, wanted fees that were “commercially ridiculous” and had exaggerated the nature of her relationship with a Middle Eastern sheikh.

Staveley denied his suggestions and then started crying.

A lawyer leading PCP’s legal team said Onions’ suggestions were an “extraordinary and bizarre 29 minutes”.

Joe Smouha QC told the judge that what Onions had said was “ridiculous”.

Onions suggested to Staveley: “You saw an opportunity to insert yourself into the Barclays’ transaction and engineered a place for yourself. You were effectively engaged in what might colloquially be described as a hustle.”

He suggested Staveley was “somebody who was prepared to lie and rely on false documents to extract money you were not entitled to”. Onions alleged she had brought the claim because she thought Barclays would settle.

But Staveley said she did not accept Onions’ suggestions and did not agree with them.

Staveley, who in recent months has been involved in brokering a deal that could give a Saudi consortium control of Premier League football club Newcastle United, has given evidence over six days.

The judge has heard how PCP’s claim arose out of the recapitalisation of Barclays in October and November 2008.

Staveley said PCP introduced a Middle Eastern investor, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, to Barclays and he “subscribed” to invest £3.25bn. But she said PCP had been induced to invest on “manifestly worse terms” than investors from Qatar.

In February, three former Barclays’ bosses were cleared of fraud over a £4bn investment deal with Qatar at the height of the banking crisis.

The Serious Fraud Office had alleged that lucrative terms given to Qatar were hidden from the market and other investors.

But Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris and Richard Boath were acquitted by jurors after a trial at the Old Bailey.

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