With few exceptions banks are much larger and more powerful than their clients. If this advantage is abused it can ruin the lives of individuals and be disastrous to business. This abuse has been highlighted repeatedly over the last few years when the bank s imposition of draconian penalties for customers, who accidentally became one pound overdrawn against their agreed overdraft limit, was revealed and as a result banks had to refund millions. The more recent scandal of banks casi arms buying up junk bonds and sending the global ecomy into free-fall. Even more recently in the city of London, the illegal and arbitrary setting of the Libor rate which sets the bank inter-lending rate. Finally, the huge bonuses paid to their executives for failure. All of these exposed the self-serving culture of the banking industry and Barclays were in the forefront of all of these. I was a customer of Barclays Bank for over forty years and had my personal account and those of several of my businesses with them during this period. The relationship at branch level was always cordial and at time in my banking history did I or the bank ever have cause for concern.I seldom had to ask them for assistance and any loans I did have were relatively small and of short duration and were always repaid in full and on time. The counter staff did their job with honesty and diligence. Based on this experience I naturally decided to invite Barclays to assist my new company, Overseas Villa Lda, in Portugal, which was developing a resort on the Algarve. I met with their CEO in Lisbon, and he liked the project so we agreed terms for development loans. In return I provided them with eight million euros of approved client mortgages. Everything was going according to plan and the relationship could t have been better. Then the bank s CEO was recalled to the UK and I had to remove my partner for fraud. The loss of the CEO left a vacuum at the top of Barclays in Lisbon, which would cause things to change dramatically for the worse. The directors of Barclays in Lisbon refused to help with the fraudulent removal of money from the account. Our bank accounts were mismanaged by Barclays and confidential details divulged to our contractors.After asking their International Headquarters in London to intervene, the actions of three of their senior executives demonstrated mind-blowing levels of incompetence, cover-ups and skulduggery with little or regard for the company, its customers or shareholders. Furthermore, when we asked the chairman of Barclays to intervene, he helped cover it up. This book sets out the entire story of what happened with Barclays in Portugal and at their headquarters in London whose senior management were asked to assist and it reveals what really happens at the top of Barclays. Throughout my discussions, they repeatedly pointed to their reputation and trustworthiness as a means of enticement for me to sign vital documents and issued me with verbal promises which, I later learned, they had intentions of keeping. On one of my many visits to the top floor of Barclays skyscraper building at Canary Wharf, which was their international headquarters and where we frequently met their directors and senior managers, I was told they had a floor full of lawyers who love to get involved in litigation.With this in mind and the threat of legal action when they learned I was writing this book, I have accumulated all the evidence to support the events recounted in this book and my legal team have been advised.
John Stephenson is a chartered electronics engineer who was in at the birth of the personal computer boom and launched the UK's first minicomputer in 1969. By the time he was thirty four, he was Chief Executive of the German and French subsidiaries of the Data Recording Group. Soon after he became Vice President Europe for the Telex Corporation of America. He started his own companies in 1979 spanning the fields of hardware and software development, systems manufacturing and consultancy with a global customer base. He has written many articles over the years for the technical press and was the technology contributor for the Government s Diplomatic Handbook, which went to British Embassies around the world. He has broadcast on computer matters for the BBC World Service and he has his own current affairs programme on local radio based in Hertfordshire. He also commentates on business, economic and political issues for Al Jazeera television. In 1976, he co-founded the Coronary Artery Disease Research Association (CORDA) together with his friend, Professor Donald Longmore OBE, who pioneered the first heart transplant in the UK and has written a book about the NHS entitled; The Rise and Fall of the NHS. CORDA sponsors research into the early detection of heart disease and the charity established a non-invasive diagnostic unit at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, now recognised as the world s leading unit for detecting coronaries and stroke in their early stages. The work of CORDA was further recognised in 2005 when Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra agreed to become its Royal Patron. John was vice chairman for 33 years and is now Vice President. He was admitted as a Freeman of the city of York in 1996.