July 23, 2020 / 11:57 AM / 19 days ago

Barclays' bailout talks peppered with sexist language, court told

(Please note the language that may offend in paragraphs 2, 3)

FILE PHOTO: A Barclays sign outside one of the bank's branches in London, Britain, February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/File Photo

By Kirstin Ridley

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays bankers seeking credit crisis-era emergency funding used sexist and disparaging language when discussing the businesswoman whose firm led a 3.25 billion pound ($4.1 billion) investment in the bank in 2008, according to court documents.

Stephen Jones, a former Barclays banker who resigned as CEO of British bank lobby group UK Finance in June over historic remarks about Amanda Staveley, told Barclays’ head of compliance at the time that the female financier was “thick as shit”.

“She’s got large breasts, so, you know, sorry, I’ll keep my mouth down,” he also told the bank’s compliance chief on Oct. 29, 2008, according to telephone transcripts made public on Thursday.

“It’s okay,” the head of compliance responded. “Your line’s not taped and neither is mine. I hope.”

The latest comments shedding light on how some bank staff portrayed the financier and criticised her professional competence have been aired during a London High Court lawsuit brought against Barclays by Staveley’s PCP Capital firm.

PCP, which led a fundraising by Abu Dhabi investors, is claiming damages of up to 1.5 billion pounds ($1.9 billion) for alleged deceit over the terms of Barclays’ 2008 parallel fundraising with Qatar.

Barclays denies wrongdoing and has dismissed the case as misconceived and without merit.

Former Barclays executive Roger Jenkins, who was leading negotiations with Qatari investors and was nicknamed Big Dog by colleagues, referred to Staveley as “the tart” during conversations with colleagues, the court has also heard.

Jenkins and Jones, who started testifying in the case on Thursday, have both apologised to Staveley. Jones has since described his comments as “wholly inappropriate”.

“Stephen ... regrets making these comments and has not sought to defend them and will not seek to do so,” a spokesman said. “He was very grateful and touched that Amanda Staveley has accepted his apology.” 

($1 = 0.7863 pounds)

Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; Editing by David Goodman

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