Monday 12 October 2020 3:51 pm

Amanda Staveley slashes £1.6bn claim against Barclays in half, High Court hears

Financier Amanda Staveley has cut her £1.6bn damages claim against Barclays by more than half, the High Court heard. 

Staveley’s private equity firm, PCP Capital Partners, is claiming a loss of around £660m from the bank, according to PCP’s closing statement. Lawyers for Barclays said PCP was now claiming a maximum of £771m, down from an initial £1.6bn when the claim was lodged. 

Read more: Barclays squares up for latest legal battle as £1.5bn Staveley suit hits High Court

The high-profile trial, which is entering its final week of hearings, centres around PCP’s claim that Barclays gave the firm less favourable treatment than other parties in the emergency £7.3bn fundraising that saved the bank from a state bailout in October 2008. 

Staveley’s firm invested £3.25bn in Barclays on behalf of its client, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, during the height of the financial crisis.

Lawyers for PCP have argued the firm missed out on millions of pounds worth of fees after the bank secretly made deals with its largest investor, the state of Qatar, offering it superior terms on its £2bn investment.

Those hidden terms contributed to Staveley being ousted as an investor in the deal, PCP lawyers argued, costing the firm an estimated £660m in lost gains. The firm’s lawyers said it should also receive interest, but that this should be addressed after a judgement is made. 

Staveley said PCP had been induced to invest in Barclays on “manifestly worse terms” than Qatari investors and would have secured “vastly better terms” were it not for “false representations” by the bank. 

Before the Open newsletter: Start your day with the City View podcast and key market data

Barclays has described PCP’s case as “opportunistic and speculative”, arguing that Staveley was an advisor on the deal, not the principal. 

Lawyers for the bank said that the private equity firm’s initial claim was for as much as £1.6bn, adding: “in oral opening PCP continued to allege that the claim was variously ‘between about £400m and £1.5bn’; PCP never told the Court or Barclays that it had halved in value”.

Barclays’ 2019 annual report and accounts said that PCP was “seeking damages of approximately £1.6bn” from the bank for “fraudulent misrepresentation and deceit”.

In their opening statement, PCP’s lawyers told the court that the private equity firm “had ultimately received a net fee of around £10m” for its work on the deal. “The value of its interest was however between about £400m and £1.5bn.”

Barclays’ legal team have alleged that PCP acknowledged in a letter dated 19 August that the “maximum claim for which it was now contending” was £771m.

Read more: Barclays’ bailout talks peppered with sexist language, court hears

“Even that is absurd,” the lawyers added. “PCP was ultimately able to negotiate a fee of £30m from Abu Dhabi for its work on the transaction.”

“That is significant compensation for approximately one month’s work. There is no proper evidential basis at all on which to suppose that PCP’s remuneration would ever have been multiples of that.”