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Barclays’ Jenkins Told SFO Qatar Fees Justified by Opportunities

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 11/18/2019 Eddie Spence

(Bloomberg) -- Former Barclays Plc executive Roger Jenkins thought that fees paid to Qatar, which prosecutors say were fraudulent, were justified by the access they would gain to the Middle East, according to a statement provided to the U.K. Serious Fraud Office.

The statement was read out in a London court Monday as part of prosecutor’s final submissions against three former Barclay’s executives. Jenkins, Tom Kalaris and Richard Boath are accused of failing to disclose 322 million pounds ($417 million) paid to Qatar using advisory service agreements as a disguise.

Barclays secured 4 billion pounds of investment from Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund at the height of the financial crisis, after being told by the U.K. fincancial regulator to raise money to reduce the risk of bankruptcy. The bank had earlier turned down a U.K. government bailout.

All three men have pleaded not guilty. The defense are scheduled to begin their arguments after a short break.

According to Jenkins’ statement, although the fees were larger than usual, they were “easily” justified because of the “economic opportunity” they created, as a strong relationship with Qatar would open up the Middle East to the bank. The bank was seeking business from other sovereign wealth funds in the region -- including those in the United Arab Emirates -- and hoped that then-Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Jassim al Thani would help them get it.

When interviewed by the SFO in 2014 and 2016 Jenkins refused to answer any questions, saying that the events in question took place too long ago and that he did not have access to the relevant documents.

Prosecutors on Monday also read out a statement from Gay Huey Evans, a former executive at the bank’s investment banking arm, Barclays Capital. She said that while she didn’t know what “additional services” the advisory service agreements were supposed to be for, it was common practice in the Middle East to pay fees for introductions to new clients.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eddie Spence in London at espence11@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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