Cleared former Barclays head to give evidence in London Qatar trial

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Financier Amanda Staveley is bringing a £1.6bn claim against the bank over ‘secret’ commissions

May 24, 2020

May 24, 2020

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Barclays Bank's former chief executive is set to give evidence in a £1.6 billion (Dh7.1bn) legal battle over “secret” payments to Qatar – a year after he was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing connected to the 2008 deal.

John Varley, who headed Barclays from 2004 to 2010, is due to appear as a witness on behalf of the bank in a legal claim brought by financier Amanda Staveley.

Ms Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners claims the bank lied to other Gulf investors about larger commission payments to Qatar for investments during the 2008 financial crisis that staved off a government takeover.

Barclays is defending the claim, saying that Qatar was not given secret commissions but was paid extra for providing introductions and other business services.

The bank’s former investment chief for the Middle East, Roger Jenkins, is also due to give evidence in a case that is due to start in June and expected to run for two months.

While criminal charges against Mr Varley were dropped in 2019 because of insufficient evidence, Mr Jenkins stood trial along with two other senior bankers following a complex, eight-year investigation by the UK agency that prosecutes white collar crime.

They were accused of involvement in a plot to funnel £322 million in secret payments to Qatar in return for £4bn of rescue funding. The three men were all acquitted in February of fraud, clearing the way for the delayed civil case to go ahead.

Mr Varley and Mr Jenkins played key roles in negotiations with the Qataris, headed by then premier Sheikh Hamad bin Jabar Al Thani.

The two men and Ms Staveley are all due to give evidence in person at London’s High Court, a judge was told on Friday at a hearing conducted through Skype because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Justice Waksman said a decision on who could give evidence through video would be made closer to the trial.

Updated: May 24, 2020 07:12 PM

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