By Kirstin Ridley
LONDON (Reuters) – A former Barclays manager tasked with building relationships with sovereign wealth funds in 2008 did not know about deals for additional services from Qatar after it invested billions of pounds in the British bank during the credit crisis.
The evidence of Gay Huey Evans, a former divisional vice-chairman of investment banking and investment management at Barclays, was read out at London’s Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday during the criminal trial of four former senior executives, including ex-chief executive John Varley.
Varley, Roger Jenkins, Tom Kalaris and Richard Boath are charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation in a case that revolves around how Barclays raised more than 11 billion pounds from investors, including Qatar, to stave off a state bailout more than a decade ago.
The men, the most senior bankers to face a jury trial over credit crisis-era conduct, deny wrongdoing. Qatar, which invested more than 4 billion pounds in Barclays in 2008, has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
Prosecutors for the Serious Fraud Office allege the bankers misled the market, shareholders and other investors by not disclosing around 322 million pounds in extra fees paid to Qatari investors through so-called additional service agreements, described as a “mechanism of paying the Qataris what they wanted”.
Huey Evans, a witness for the prosecution who is now deputy chair of the Financial Reporting Council accounting watchdog, started reporting directly to Jenkins around September 2008.
In testimony read by prosecutors, Huey Evans said she would have been “pushier” about what services Qatar was providing if she had known about the deal.
“I am not aware of any advisory services provided by Qatar apart from the introduction of Sheikh Mansour (of Abu Dhabi) to the October 2008 fund raising,” she was quoted as saying.
The court has been told that Qatari investors were paid a separate 66 million pounds for introducing Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan to Barclays’ second capital raising in October 2008.
Jenkins was the gatekeeper of the Qatari relationship, but with oil prices rising in 2008, Huey Evans’ team hoped to build deeper relationships with oil-rich states and that Jenkins would facilitate introductions. But her department was frustrated at a lack of progress, the court heard.
She said that “he (Jenkins) tried to be helpful” but that business in the Middle East was complex.
The bank had lacked a close relationship with Abu Dhabi and executives who wanted to meet the Crown Prince could be asked to sit and wait for hours – or days. “No-one liked sitting there,” Huey Evans was quoted as saying.
The jury in the trial, which is scheduled to last up to six months, was told the witness testimony could be read out if there were no questions from the defence.
(Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; Editing by Alexander Smith)