Barclays CEO under investigation over links to Jeffrey Epstein

Daniel Fowler
February 16, 2020

The U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority are now investigating how Mr. Staley characterized the relationship to Barclays and how the company subsequently described it to the FCA. In 2018, Staley was fined for his attempts to uncover a whistle-blower.

"For sure, with hindsight with what we know now, I deeply regret having any relationship with Jeffrey", Staley pointed out.

Epstein died by suicide a year ago while under arrest facing charges of underage sex trafficking. An article stated Staley visited Epstein while he was serving time for soliciting prostitution from a minor and suggested the pair had a close business relationship over many years.

The British lender said that earlier in his career Mr. Staley developed a professional relationship with Mr. Epstein, which past year he explained to certain executives at Barclays and Chairman Nigel Higgins. The regulators fined him £642,430 in 2018 for trying to unearth the identity of a whistleblower at Barclays.

According to a statement from Bowdoin College, the school is aware of Staley's connection to Epstein and, after a review conducted last fall, "the board agreed with the Governance Committee's unanimous recommendation that there was nothing in Jes Staley's actions or behavior that warranted the board taking any action".

The bank added: "The relationship between Mr Staley and Mr Epstein was the subject of an inquiry from the Financial Conduct Authority, to which the company responded".

The FCA and another United Kingdom regulator, the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority, confirmed in a statement that they are investigating the Barclays CEO.

The lender's shares fell 2.6 per cent at 8:46 a.m.in London.

Epstein Financier died in jail last year
Epstein Financier died in jail last year

Staley has been running Barclays since late 2015.

Epstein, a multimillionaire financier, had extensive business and society links in the USA and United Kingdom, including Prince Andrew, who has stepped back from royal duties over their relationship.

The FCA said at the time that Staley had improperly demanded that the Barclays security team identify the author of the anonymous letter sent to the bank. Activist investor Sherborne Investors has been waging a campaign to have Barclays scale back in investment banking.

The British lender also reiterated its ambition of achieving a 10 per cent return on equity this year, although it repeated a warning from October that the worsening economic outlook might make reaching that target hard.

Barclays said the Financial Conduct Authority had asked past year about the relationship, and the company had responded. Barclays was additionally slapped with a $15-million fine by a NY regulator over the scandal.

The relationship ended in the "middle to fall of 2015", Staley told reporters, saying there was no contact after he became chief executive of Barclays in December 2015.

-With assistance from Marion Dakers and Donal Griffin.

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