Barclays CEO Staley Probed By Britain’s Financial Watchdogs Over Links With Longtime Friend
Britain’s financial regulators are investigating Barclays chief executive Jes Staley over his links to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein and concerns that he was not fully transparent about the extent of their relationship.
Staley, an American banking executive, joined Barclays in 2015 and told the bank that he had developed a friendship with Epstein in 2000 while he was a client at JPMorgan. Staley took over running JPMorgan’s private banking division in 1999.
The Financial Conduct Authority is investigating along with the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority. Barclays said the investigation is focused on Staley’s characterization of his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and how he described that relationship to the FCA.
An internal Barclays investigation found no concerns in the way Staley conducted himself with regards to his relationship with Epstein, who was convicted in 2008 of procuring an underage girl for prostition in a controversial plea deal. According to the bank, Staley confirmed that he had not had contact with Epstein, a convicted sex offender, since 2015.
Staley told Bloomberg on Thursday: “It’s well known in the press that I have had a long standing professional, or had a longstanding professional relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. It began in 2000 when I was asked to run JP Morgan’s private bank and he was already a client of the bank at that time.”
“The investigation is actually focused on transparency and whether I was transparent with and open with the bank, and with the board, with respect to my relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. And indeed it’s clear in my own mind that going all the way back to 2015 when I joined Barclays, I have been very transparent with the bank and very open and willing to discuss the relationship that I had with him.”
Jes Staley’s relationship with Epstein, who hanged himself in prison last August, were put under a spotlight after the disgraced financier was charged with federal sex trafficking of minors. The New York Times reported in July on Epstein’s deep ties to influential Wall Street executives and wealthy investors many of whom would later become clients of JPMorgan’s private banking and asset management business. The American bank had flagged Epstein as a problematic client several times following his 2008 conviction but Epstein was only dropped in 2013, according to the NYT.
In 2016, Staley was fined £640,000 ($830,000) for attempting to identify a whistleblower who had made allegations about him in a letter.