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Blonde ambition thwarted

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Like most of the City of London, I’ve been fascinated with Amanda Staveley for some time. Ever since she burst onto the scene last autumn as the go-between in the 3.5 billion pound investment in Britain’s Barclays by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the Abu Dhabi prince, she has sparked admiration and scepticism in equal measure.

Reports that she earned a 40 million pound fee for her role in the deal sparked a frenzy of (largely positive) press coverage which gleefully revisited her past as, among other things, a former model and one of Prince Andrew’s former girlfriends.

Others wondered quite how a 35-year old whose previous business experience consisted of running a restaurant outside Cambridge – and who is not even registered with the UK’s Financial Services Authority - managed to pick up such a juicy mandate.

Now the saga has taken a new twist. In today’s WSJ, Dennis Berman describes how Staveley recently persuaded Larry Fink of BlackRock she had lined up a consortium of Middle Eastern investors who were willing to put up $2 billion to help finance his $13.5 billion purchase of Barclays Global Investors. But when BlackRock asked Staveley to identify the investors, things started to go wrong:

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