British bank Barclays boss steps down amid probe into Epstein ties

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Barclays
Barclays

Jes Staley, the boss of major British bank Barclays, said he will step down with immediate effect, as the bank’s board said it was “disappointed” with the outcome of a report into his links to late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The bank said it was made aware late on Friday of the preliminary conclusions from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), but did not go into details.

Staley said he intends to contest the findings and the bank pointed out that the investigation makes no findings that he saw, or was aware of, any of Epstein’s alleged crimes.

After receiving the report, which looked into whether the bank and Staley played down his relationship with Epstein, the chief executive quit the bank and said the conclusions will be contested.

It is understood the early draft suggests he played down his role in Epstein’s affairs while acting despite acting as Epstein’s private banker in a previous job.

Barclays said: “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.”

The bank’s board said it is “disappointed at this outcome,” but details of the report have not been published.

Staley will get a 2.5-million-pound (3.4-million-dollar) payoff and continue to receive other benefits for a year, the bank said.

He will also be eligible to receive repatriation costs to the US and could receive more cash, although no decision has been made.
The FCA and PRA declined to comment.

Staley has previously said he “deeply regrets” his relationship with Epstein, after acting as his private banker while working for JP Morgan, and continuing for seven years after the financier was convicted of sex offences.

His last contact with Epstein had been in the autumn of 2015, shortly before he joined Barclays, but not before he and his wife sailed to Epstein’s private island for lunch that year.

He said he had no contact with Epstein once he joined the bank in December 2015.

The FCA’s investigation was focused on a letter the company wrote to the watchdog following Epstein’s death in the US and subsequent reports of Staley’s relationship while running JP Morgan’s private bank for wealthy clients.

Staley will be replaced by the bank’s head of global markets, Mr C S Venkatakrishnan, starting on Monday.

Barclays said succession planning has been in place for some time and he had been identified as the preferred candidate for more than a year.

He will be paid 2.7 million pounds a year in fixed pay, made up of 50-per-cent cash and 50-per-cent Barclays shares, alongside a 135,000-pound pensions contribution.

The new boss could also receive an annual bonus of up to 2.5 million pounds and long-term bonuses in shares worth up to 3.8 million pounds.

Epstein was an American financier with multiple ties to politics and business who was convicted in 2008 for soliciting a child for prostitution and was in jail in 2019 facing new charges of sex trafficking when he was found dead in his cell.

Because of his extensive contacts, the case continues to reverberate as investigators look at his links to a variety of high-powered individuals. Most recently, Britain’s Prince Andrew has faced questions linked to his association with Epstein.

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