Former Barclays banker joked about his own ‘execution’ in Qatar calls

A senior Barclays banker joked about his own execution after the “horrible truth” emerged that there had been little take-up from investors for Barclays’ fundraising in June 2008, leaving Qatar with a 10 per cent stake in the bank, the High Court in London heard.

Roger Jenkins, the former chairman of Barclays’ Middle East business, spent a second day in the witness box being cross-examined. The UK bank is defending a £1.5bn civil lawsuit brought against it by PCP, financier Amanda Staveley’s investment firm, 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. Barclays denies the claims.

On Friday, the High Court heard a phone call from July 2008 between Mr Jenkins and former colleague Richard Boath in which the men talked about the worse-than-expected clawback from existing investors of shares placed with the Qatari investors. This meant Qatar was going to own 10 per cent of Barclays and had to find £2.3bn.

Mr Jenkins says in the call that the institutions who underwrote the fundraising are “all fucked”. He discusses whether he should travel in person to break the “horrible truth” about the fundraising flop to Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, then Qatar prime minister, who was at his home in Cannes, in the south of France.

Mr Jenkins joked to Mr Boath: “The question is whether I drag you bastards with me . . . ”

Mr Boath said he is happy to go. Mr Jenkins continued: “Yeah, yeah. Well, because normally there’s one execution so . . . He won’t normally kill two people.”

Mr Jenkins added: “So I’ll send you there. I’ll turn up an hour later.”

During the call Mr Boath told him: “I love your optimism, It’s fantastic.”

Mr Jenkins replied: “Because at the end of the day, I don’t give a fuck.”

Mr Jenkins was cross-examined about a £42m side agreement which Barclays struck with Qatar in June 2008 at the same time as the cash call. Mr Jenkins said the side deal was intended to give Barclays the “best crack of the whip” for new deal opportunities in the Middle East in areas such as co-investment and foreign exchange.

“I would not have entered into the agreement if I did not think it would make more than £42m,” he told the court.

When asked by PCP’s barrister Joe Smouha QC why there was no description of services to be provided by Qatar to Barclays in the side agreement, Mr Jenkins replied: “I’m an honest man. If you call that into question, my honesty — I’ll take exception to that.”

Mr Jenkins was acquitted of all criminal charges over the 2008 fundraising by an Old Bailey jury earlier this year.

The case continues.

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