Barclays’ Former Chief Defends 2019 Qatari Investment During Trial

Barclays’ former leader has defended a 2008 Qatari investment as key to the bank’s global ambitions but distanced himself from discussions that led to a complex contract that is at the heart of the legal trial. A jury at Southwark crown courtroom was read statements from three of the four defendants facing charges, including the former leader, John Varley. The court noticed that Varley, who served as chief executive until 2010, acquired “global ambitions for Barclays” that meant expanding foreign possession and increasing the bank’s non-UK income to 75% of the total.

After stunning a relationship with the China Development Bank or investment company in 2007, Varley said he “was thinking about developing a similar relationship with the Qataris, building on that example of how to build up a very important collaboration”. Varley acknowledged that a “reputation was got by the Qataris of being tough negotiators”. But he believed that the worthiness of the ensuing services agreement, which resulted in millions being paid to the Gulf state, “over time would far exceed the fees payable”. He added that Qatar’s subsequent investment in Barclays and the advisory services agreement were “distinct”. “I did so not respect the fees payable as connected to the administrative centre raising from a regulatory perspective,” the declaration read.

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