View Full Version : Roger the Dodger/Roger the Rabbit ?

19th March 2009, 09:36
Whilst reading this article I wondered if perhaps Roger the Doger , could in fact be our old friend Roger Rabbit - both are Scots and I recall that Roger used to advise companies in Tax Plannning - well you never know ...anyway intresting story nevertheless.

He is thought to earn more than £40m a year, and is responsible for running a division of Barclays Bank that may have saved it - legitimately, if controversially - from paying billions of pounds in tax revenue.

Fiercely clever, but abrasive with it, he is a daunting figure for those around him at work. And at play, he and his wife can count the likes of Cindy Crawford and Mick Jagger as friends.

Yet few people outside the exclusive world in which he lives have ever heard of Roger Allan Jenkins, a man whose nicknames - Roger the Dodger, The King of the Double Dip - say more about him than he ever would.

Because privacy is something he guards as closely as the complex tax arrangements that have made him probably the highest paid employee of a public company in Britain, earning far more even than the bosses for whom he works. He once warned, in a rare media interview: "I don't want to be out and about. I guard my privacy."

Jenkins is a 53-year-old Scotsman whose great expertise is in the analysis of the tax regimes of different countries, understanding how they can be played off against each other, thus reducing the tax liabilities not only of Barclays but of some of its customers.

The son of an oil refinery manager, Jenkins was educated privately at Edinburgh Academy before studying economics at Heriot-Watt University, and worked briefly at BP before joining Barclays as a graduate trainee in 1978. While at school he was an outstanding athlete, particularly in the 400 metres, representing Scotland in the Commonwealth Games and winning a silver medal at the World Student Games.

His elder brother, David, set a British record for the 400 metres, won a European title and then took silver in the 4x400 relay at the 1972 Munich Olympics. David Jenkins later admitted having taken performance-enhancing drugs, and in 1988 was convicted for his role in smuggling steroids into the US. He was given seven years but released after serving 10 months in the Mojave Desert prison, and now runs a successful food supplement business in California.

Roger Jenkins is known to be a great admirer of his brother's sporting and business achievements. He too lived in the United States for a spell, working for Barclays' investment banking arm in New York before leaving the company to join Kleinwort Benson, the merchant bank. In 1994 he returned to Barclays where he began to develop his expertise in tax structuring, eventually heading Barclays Capital Structured Capital Markets (SCM), the division whose tax avoidance operations were at the heart of this week's high court case.

The division is little known, even within Barclays, but revered. SCM employs experts who are accomplished at tax arbitrage, a practice that allows rich individuals and major companies to exploit the differences between tax rules in various counties. To achieve the tax benefits, Barclays sets up strings of "special purpose vehicles" which are companies specifically set up to shift huge sums of money around the financial system in an elaborate circle, often moving it offshore before bringing it back with tax benefits attached.

One such deal was the subject of a lengthy investigation by the Wall Street Journal Europe, which discovered that in 2003 Jenkins's team had set up a company called Augustus Funding, co-owned by Barclays and the US bank Wachovia Corporation. Augustus had no employees, no products and no customers, just a mailing address in Delaware and a British board of directors, mostly Barclays employees. In its first year, Augustus reported a profit of $317m, almost £200m at the prevailing exchange rate. The newspaper reported that when Augustus paid $94m in tax in Britain for its UK residency, Barclays and Wachovia could then claim a credit for the payment in the US.

This is known in the City as "double dipping", and at the time of the WSJ report in June 2006, Augustus was only one of nine such structures Jenkins and his team were reported to have set up in partnership with US banks.

Barclays insists that it deserves to be judged by the tax that it does pay, rather than the tax that it avoids. John Varley, its chief executive, says it has paid £10bn over the last five years. "We are not shy about paying tax," he said. He also denied that any of Barclays' operations were in any way opaque, saying that the bank was "absolutely punctilious" in obeying tax rules wherever it operated.

Jenkins maintains that SCM's operations bring wider economic benefits. "There are two things any financial authority wants to achieve: to trap revenue and to encourage activity," he once said. "We play very much on the encouragement side."

While Jenkins's work is the cause of much controversy, those who have worked closely with him are agreed on one matter: his management style can best be described as somewhat abrasive. There is talk of a climate of fear at SCM, where those who do not come up to scratch are dismissed. One source who is very familiar with SCM's work describes how one hapless new employee made the mistake of going to Jenkins's office to introduce himself on his first morning. Jenkins bellowed at the man to "**** off", and then shunned him for some time. "He hadn't realised that one doesn't go to Jenkins's office unless invited," says the source.

This source says Jenkins's success is due as much to his political skills as his technical ability, and there are many who see him as an increasingly powerful figure within the bank. According to a covering letter written by the whistleblower who sent Vince Cable the documents at the centre of yesterday's court case, "even John Varley now attends meetings in Jenkins's office, walking across to the Barclays Capital offices at the other end of Canary Wharf, a sign of the shifting of power within the bank".

While Jenkins's annual income is reputed to exceed £40m, insiders say that few people know for certain what he really earns. It is clear that he is a very wealthy man, however, with a couple of homes in London, one of them in Mayfair, and another in Malibu. His wife, Sanela Dijana Jenkins, was once quoted singing praise of the delights of private air travel. "It's very addictive," she said.