Deal queen set to sue Barclays over Qatar fees
Jim Armitage is the City editor of The Independent and London Evening Standard group of newspapers. He has been a reporter and editor for more than 20 years and was recently shortlisted for the Press Gazette financial journalist of the year and The Society of Editors financial journalist of the year awards. He contributes news, investigative reports and comment to the Independent titles plus a daily column in the Evening Standard.
Wednesday 12 February 2014
The deal maker, Amanda Staveley, is taking steps to sue Barclays for its role in raising £3.5 billion from Qatar as part of the total of £7 billion deal from Middle Eastern investors to bail out the troubled bank.
Ms Staveley acted for Abu Dhabi, which provided the remaining £3.5bn to help keep Barclays out of a UK taxpayer bailout in 2008.
But the Qatari side of the deal is now the subject of an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into a £322m fee Barclays allegedly paid to a third party in Qatar to secure its investment.
"The whole thing has been a nightmare," she told Porter magazine. "Especially when you feel like you've done an exceptional deal. The last thing I thought was that Barclays would pay Qatar an additional sum of money. Instead of calling it a fee, they said that Qatar was advising them. But Qatar has done nothing wrong – the FCA is investigating Barclays; not Qatar or me. The matter is in the hands of our lawyers and we have appointed a QC to represent us in litigation against the bank.'"
The FCA said it is minded to fine Barclays £50m over the affair and the SFO is investigating.
Now a multimillionaire, Ms Staveley also told of how she had once been homeless, sleeping "in the doorway of a bank in the City of London" for a night when a deal went wrong, leaving her penniless. Cambridge and boarding school educated, she had been too proud to ask her landowner father for help.
She recalled from her childhood: "My father was very clear: I was from an old Yorkshire family and Yorkshire families stay together and the inheritance goes from father to son, and that could never change. So I knew I had to make it on my own."
She suffered through university with a melancholy that had persisted from childhood, resulting in her being admitted to hospital with anorexia: "It was a dismal, dismal time."
Ms Staveley also revealed that businessmen had offered her "a lot of money" to become their lover, saying: "But I couldn't go through with it. I cried my eyes out because I couldn't do it. It must be the most horrific thing in the world to sell your body."
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