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Businesswoman cries in court during £1.6 billion battle with Barclays

A businesswoman embroiled in a £1.6 billion High Court battle with Barclays broke down in tears after bank bosses accused her of engaging in a “hustle”.

Amanda Staveley has made complaints about bank bosses’ behaviour when negotiating investment deals during the 2008 financial crisis.

Ms Staveley says Barclays agreed to provide an unsecured £2 billion loan to Qatari investors.

But she says that loan was “concealed” from the market, shareholders and from PCP Capital Partners, a private equity firm run by Ms Staveley.

PCP is suing the bank and wants £1.6 billion in damages.

Ms Staveley says PCP is owed money for the work it did.

Barclays disputes the claim and says it is “made of sand”.

Mr Justice Waksman began overseeing a trial in London two weeks ago. The trial is due to last two months.

(Ian West/PA)
(Ian West/PA)

A barrister leading the bank’s legal team on Friday spent 29 minutes putting Barclays’ case to Ms Staveley.

Jeffery Onions QC suggested that Ms Staveley had seen an opportunity to “insert” herself into negotiations, had effectively engaged in a “hustle”, was prepared to “lie” in order to extract money she was not entitled to, wanted fees which were “commercially ridiculous” and had exaggerated the nature of her relationship with a Middle Eastern sheikh.

Ms Staveley denied his suggestions then started crying.

A lawyer leading PCP’s legal said Mr Onions’ suggestions were an “extraordinary and bizarre 29 minutes”.

Joe Smouha QC told the judge that what Mr Onions had said was “ridiculous”.

“You saw an opportunity to insert yourself into the Barclays’ transaction and engineered a place for yourself,” Mr Onions suggested to Ms Staveley.

“You were effectively engaged in what might colloquially be described as a hustle.”

He suggested that Ms Staveley was “somebody who was prepared to lie and rely on false documents to extract money you were not entitled to”.

Mr Onions alleged that she had brought the claim because she thought that Barclays would settle.

But Ms Staveley either said she did not accept Mr Onions’ suggestions and did not agree with them.

Ms Staveley, who in recent months has been involved in brokering a deal which could see a Saudi consortium take control of Premier League football club Newcastle United, has given evidence over six days.

The judge has heard how PCP’s claim arose out of the recapitalisation of Barclays in October and November 2008.

Ms Staveley says PCP introduced a Middle Eastern investor, His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, to Barclays and he “subscribed” to invest £3.25 billion.

But he said PCP had been induced to invest on “manifestly worse terms” than investors from Qatar.

In February, three former Barclays’ bosses were cleared of fraud over a £4 billion investment deal with Qatar at the height of the banking crisis.

The Serious Fraud Office had alleged that lucrative terms given to Qatar were hidden from the market and other investors.

But Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris and Richard Boath were acquitted by jurors following a trial at the Old Bailey.

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