Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) American CEO Jes Staley has quit his job at the British bank amid an investigation on his links with discredited and deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein. The probe was launched by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
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Barclays CEO Quits
The bank revealed that the investigation was into “Mr. Staley’s characterization to Barclays of his relationship with the late Mr. Jeffrey Epstein and the subsequent description of that relationship in Barclays’ response to the FCA,” CNBC reports.
In the late hours of Friday, both Barclays and Staley were notified of the initial findings of the regulators’ investigation.
In a statement on Monday, the bank said: “In view of those conclusions, and Mr. Staley's intention to contest them, the board [of Barclays] and Mr. Staley have agreed that he will step down from his role as group chief executive and as a director of Barclays.”
“It should be noted that the investigation makes no findings that Mr. Staley saw, or was aware of, any of Mr. Epstein's alleged crimes, which was the central question underpinning Barclays' support for Mr. Staley following the arrest of Mr. Epstein in the summer of 2019.”
A spokesperson in the investigation said that regulators “do not comment on ongoing investigations or regulatory proceedings.”
As reported by CNN, Staley’s relationship with Epstein began in 2000 upon becoming JP Morgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM)’s private bank’s head. During a phone conversation in February last year, he said the latter was “already a client. The relationship was maintained during my time at JPMorgan, but as I left Morgan it tapered off quite significantly.”
Epstein was convicted in 2008 on pedophilia by U.S. federal prosecutors in Florida, was later charged with sex trafficking. While awaiting trial, he died in a New York jail cell in August 2019.
Staley went on to say about his relationship with the deceased financier: “Obviously I thought I knew him well and I didn't. And for sure with hindsight of what we all know now I deeply regret having had any relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.”
Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at UK broker Hargreaves Lansdown said, "Although detail is limited, it appears regulators believe there was a distinct lack of transparency over this relationship. It's understood Mr. Staley will contest the conclusions, and clearly the board want to distance Barclays from what could be a long drawn out process.”