A senior banker at Barclays panicked at 02:00 at the peak of the 2008 banking crisis that, if the bank was nationalised, his bonus would be jeopardised, a court has heard.
Barclays was among banks needing extra funding during the crisis.
Roger Jenkins discussed with colleagues a plan to raise money privately, to avoid having to accept taxpayer money.
A bailout deal from the government would have meant extra disclosure of executive bonuses.
The bank later raised money from Middle Eastern investors and avoided a government bailout.
The court heard a conversation between Barclays executives on 8 October 2008, the day the government announced £50 billion of taxpayers’ money would be made available to bail out the banks.
“At 2 o’clock in the morning I was panicking that we were about to get nationalised and you guys must have been the same because the government would, wouldn’t look kindly on compensation over a million dollars,” said Roger Jenkins, then an executive chairman at Barclays Capital – the investment banking arm on the business.
Prosecuting for the Serious Fraud Office, Edward Brown QC quoted from a transcript of a telephone conversation that day between Mr Jenkins; Barclays Capital Executive Richard Boath and another senior banker at the firm, Jeff Weiss.
In the conversation the executives discuss the risk of their bonuses being disclosed, together with those of Barclays group chief executive John Varley and Barclays Capital chief executive Bob Diamond.
The court heard the men’s pay:
- Roger Jenkins was paid £39.m in 2007, and was recommended a payment of £25m for his role in these capital raisings alone.
- Richard Boath was paid £2.87m in 2007, and £1.87m in 2008.
- John Varley was paid £4.23m in 2007 and £1.1m in 2008
- Wealth chief Tom Kalaris was paid £13m in 2007 and £7.7m for 2008.
- Finance Director Chris Lucas was paid £2m for 2007 and £1.45m for 2008.
“You may think that some of these men were highly motivated to keep their jobs,” Mr Brown QC said.
In a further phone discussion the following week, 14 October, between Jenkins and Boath, Barclays group chief executive John Varley was described as being “scared to death” of Government intervention, and Bob Diamond as “paranoid” and afraid of losing his job.
This is the first criminal trial of senior UK banking executives in the wake of the financial crisis.
John Varley, Roger Jenkins, Tom Kalaris and Richard Boath have all denied conspiracy to commit fraud. The trial continues.