Barclays Bankers Called Financier Amanda Staveley a ‘Dolly-Bird’ and ‘Tart’

Barclays Plc executive Roger Jenkins disparaged financier Amanda Staveley in a phone call with a colleague as the bank desperately negotiated a lifeline deal to avoid a U.K. government bailout at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

Jenkins dismissed Staveley as a “dolly-bird” and “tart” while he talked to fellow banker Richard Boath about their negotiations with Middle Eastern investors. Staveley and her firm, PCP Capital Partners LLP, are suing the bank for 1.6 billion pounds ($2 billion) over claims Barclays cheated her out of profits she should have earned by bringing investors into deals that helped save the lender.

The October 2008 phone call was disclosed as Jenkins, 64, began giving evidence as part of the trial Thursday. “Dolly-bird” is a sexist term which means an attractive but unintelligent young woman.

“Now, that dolly-bird that represents -- is it -- what’s her name?” Boath asked Jenkins.

“Amanda Staveley,” Jenkins replied, before explaining that Staveley had been told to telephone him.

“I can handle dolly-birds,” Jenkins assured Boath.

Later in the phone call, Jenkins told Boath he’s “going to call the tart,” in reference to Staveley.

Jenkins and Boath were both unanimously acquitted by a London jury earlier this year in criminal proceedings related to a 2008 deal done with Qatar, during which several embarrassing phone calls were disclosed. Staveley’s lawsuit has dragged Jenkins to court once again to give evidence over four days.

The new disclosures come after another former Barclays banker, Stephen Jones, resigned as head of a U.K. finance industry group last month because of “thoroughly unpleasant comments” he made about Staveley. He called PCP “f*ckers” and a “bunch of scum bags” in a phone call to a colleague in October 2008, according to Staveley’s first witness statement. He’s due to give evidence next week.

“Unknown Broker”

While the facts of the criminal trial and Staveley’s case are different, both revolve around decisions made during the turbulent period more than a decade ago.

The situation was fraught as Barclays tried to avoid a government bailout that would have come with many restrictions, including some on bonuses and dividends. Jenkins, who was executive chairman of the bank’s Middle East business, was promised a 25 million-pound bonus for the work.

In Jenkins’ witness statement, he said it would have been “absurd” to entrust Staveley to raise vital funds for the bank during the 2008 crash.

Staveley was “an unknown broker with no capital markets experience,” Jenkins said. Barclays President Bob Diamond “simply would not have allowed us to delegate the task of raising vital funds for our parent bank to PCP,” he said.

Last month, as the trial kicked off, emails between Jenkins and other executives were disclosed. He complained that “Amanda gets all the limelight,” rather than his then-wife Diana, who he said wasn’t getting enough credit for helping to bring key Middle Eastern investors on board.

He repeated the complaint that Staveley was engineering press coverage to paint herself as the architect of the lifeline from Qatar and Abu Dhabi.

“My impression was that Ms. Staveley was seeking to use her involvement in the deal to generate publicity for herself,” he said in his witness statement Thursday.

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