Jan 28, 2019

Barclays bosses were ‘scared to death’ of bailout

A criminal trial of Mr Varley and three of his former colleagues was shown details of a phone conversation between two of the accused in October 2008 when the UK government announced a bank bailout plan - triggering fears among Barclays' executives about their multimillion-pound bonuses and careers. On the call Roger Jenkins, Barclays' former head of the Middle East, described Mr Diamond, then head of its investment bank, as "f**king paranoid" and said Mr Varley was "Scared to death that the government turn up tomorrow morning". Richard Boath, a senior investment banker, asked Mr Jenkins: "So Bob is paranoid about being nationalised?" Mr Jenkins replied: "Well, and let go." Mr Boath replied: "Oh, personally?" to which Mr Jenkins replied "Yes". The UK's Serious Fraud Office claims the four men secretly paid £322m to Qatar in return for its investment in two capital calls, which allowed Barclays to escape a UK government bailout in 2008. On Monday the trial was shown minutes from an October 2008 Barclays board meeting in which the directors stated a "Clear preference" that Barclays would not take UK taxpayer capital as doing so would constrain the flexibility of the bank, future dividends and executive bonuses.

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