Commentaries

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Blonde ambition thwarted

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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