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Businesswoman considers appeal after losing big-money court battle with Barclays

Brian Farmer and August Graham, PA
·3-min read

A businesswoman who sued Barclays for hundreds of millions of pounds has said she is considering an appeal after losing a High Court battle.

Amanda Staveley, 47, made complaints about the behaviour of bosses at the bank when negotiating investment deals during the 2008 financial crisis.

She said PCP Capital Partners, a private equity firm she runs, would have invested in the bank on “vastly better terms” but for Barclays’ “false representations”.

The bank disputed her allegations and said the claim should be dismissed.

A High Court judge ruled against Ms Staveley on Friday.

Amanda Staveley legal action
The judge described Amanda Staveley as a ‘tough, clever and creative entrepreneur’ (Victoria Jones/PA)

Mr Justice Waksman heard evidence at a trial in London during the summer of 2020.

Barclays contested the claim.

The judge said, in a written ruling, that one Barclays boss had “knowingly” made false representations and that PCP had established that “Barclays was guilty of fraudulent misrepresentation”.

He said PCP had succeeded on liability but had not established “causation and loss”.

The judge said the result was, therefore, that the overall claim failed.

He added: “I can understand why this outcome will be a serious disappointment to PCP, especially after I have found Barclays to be guilty of serious deceit towards it.”

Mr Justice Waksman described Ms Staveley as the “the driving force of PCP” and as a “tough, clever and creative entrepreneur”.

“Barclays contends that, in general, Ms Staveley was thoroughly unreliable, her evidence was inconsistent with documents, she had a flawed recollection and she was guilty of ‘obvious embellishment and invention’,” said the judge.

“I do not accept that as a general characterisation so that she was essentially an untruthful or unreliable witness.”

He added: “I thought that, for the most part, her evidence was reliable.”

Ms Staveley said after the ruling that she is considering an appeal.

“In spite of Barclays’ efforts to question my character and credentials, the court has recognised my abilities as a businesswoman and the truth of my account of events,” she said.

“The judgment confirms what I have said from the outset and repeated in my evidence – a senior executive at Barclays repeatedly lied to me when seeking private investment in the bank during the 2008 financial crisis.”

A Barclays spokesman said: “We welcome the court’s decision to dismiss PCP’s claim in its entirety and award it no damages.”

Ms Staveley said bank bosses agreed to provide an unsecured £2 billion loan to Qatari investors, but alleged that the loan was “concealed” from the market, shareholders and PCP Capital Partners.

She said PCP was induced to invest on “manifestly worse terms” than Qatari investors.

Lawyers representing PCP told the judge that an initial damages claim was for a sum between £1.6 billion and £400 million.

By the end of the trial PCP was arguing for amounts ranging between around £830 million and around £600 million.

Lawyers representing bank bosses criticised Ms Staveley, who said PCP introduced Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour – a member of the royal family of Abu Dhabi – to Barclays as an investor, during the trial.

Jeffery Onions QC, who led Barclays’ legal team, told Mr Justice Waksman that she had a “tendency to exaggerate” when giving evidence.

Lawyers representing PCP, and Ms Staveley, said the claim should succeed.

Joe Smouha QC, who led PCP’s legal team, said the building blocks of the claim were straightforward.

He said PCP had been induced to make subscriptions on the basis of representations by Barclays which were false.