LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays (BARC.L) has dismissed as “distorted and exaggerated” legal arguments by financier Amanda Staveley, who is claiming up to 1.5 billion pounds in damages for alleged deceit over a financial crisis-era fundraising in a high-profile London trial.
Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners alleges Barclays reneged on written and oral representations that it would get the same terms as Qatar during a 7.3 billion pound emergency cash call in October 2008 that allowed the British bank to avoid a state bailout.
The High Court battle, broadcast online, turns the spotlight back on Barclays’ arrangements with Qatar four months after three senior Barclays executives were acquitted of fraud in a case revolving around advisory service agreements (ASA) struck with Qatar in 2008.
PCP alleges that Qatar had received 346 million pounds in extra fees, including a 280 million pound “sham” ASA, and a $3.0 billion loan from Barclays that almost matched the amount the Gulf state was investing.
Qatar said after the February fraud trial that two ASAs with Barclays, agreed in 2008, were genuine.
PCP also alleges that if it had known about the Qatar deal, it would have negotiated extra fees or revised terms and would have kept a 10% interest in the funding deal — which it gave up to keep Abu Dhabi investors on board that November.
Barclays’ lawyer Jeffery Onions told the trial on Tuesday that Staveley’s case bore little or no relationship to the facts, alleging that the ASA and loan were separate commercial agreements.
Onions alleged that to suggest PCP was also an investor in its own right had been “crafted and embellished in order to justify the enormous claim”. “PCP was a middleman,” he alleged.
PCP, which led a group that invested about 3.25 billion pounds in Barclays in 2008, was paid 30 million pounds in April 2009 for its work.
Staveley is currently fronting another group, that includes Saudi sovereign wealth fund PIF and billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben, that is negotiating a takeover bid for Premier League side Newcastle United.
Reporting by Kirstin Ridley. Editing by Jane Merriman