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Banker cashes in chips

A former senior Barclays exec currently facing criminal charges, Roger Jenkins has cashed in early on his Californian marijuana farm.

The cannabis plantation backed by the colourful 64-year-old was sold last week to an unknown investor, say City sources.

Mr Jenkins, who lives in Los Angeles, invested in 2016, as it became legal to grow, possess and use limited quantities of cannabis.

He joined a wave of investors pouring cash into North America’s “green rush”, along with libertarian Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, who gave Mark Zuckerberg his first $500,000 in funding for Facebook. Thiel was also a major investor in Tilray, a Canadian grower which is listed on Nasdaq and valued at $2.5bn.

US and Canadian investors have piled into pot as attitudes to cannabis change, but valuations have halved since the peak “cannabubble”.

Mr Jenkins declined to comment on the sale of the cannabis farm. The financier, who has dated Elle Macpherson, the supermodel, and Aida Yespica, a former Miss Venezuela, was once said to be the best-paid banker in Britain, reputedly making upwards of £75m a year at Barclays, but has kept a low profile more recently.

He left Barclays in 2009, after he was involved in a fundraising with Qatar the previous year, when the banking system was on the brink of collapse. That deal went on to become the focus of a high-profile criminal case, which will be heard this week.

Mr Jenkins has been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud alongside Tom Kalaris, Barclays’ former wealth boss, and Richard Boath, previously European head of financial institutions.

The men have denied any wrongdoing and it is thought Jenkins needed the cash to find his defence team.

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