Barclays CEO Resigns Over Probe Into Ties to Jeffrey Epstein

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Barclays CEO Jes Staley is stepping down from his role as head of the multinational banking group after British regulators announced preliminary conclusions of a probe into his ties to convicted sex offender and disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

In a Nov. 1 statement, Barclays said it was made aware on Oct. 29 of initial findings of the investigation by Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) into Staley’s characterization to Barclays of his relationship with Epstein and the subsequent description of that relationship in Barclays’ response to the regulator.

Barclays said Staley was stepping down as he intends to contest the conclusions of the probe, which the bank said “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.”

“In view of those conclusions, and Mr. Staley’s intention to contest them, the Board and Mr. Staley have agreed that he will step down from his role as Group Chief Executive and as a director of Barclays,” the bank said.

“The board is disappointed at this outcome. Mr. Staley has run the Barclays Group successfully since December 2015 with real commitment and skill,” Barclays added.

C.S. Venkatakrishnan, head of global markets, will replace Staley as CEO with immediate effect, the bank said.

The investigations sought to examine Staley’s “historical” links to Epstein while Staley ran the private banking arm of U.S. investment bank JP Morgan, according to Sky News. Barclays said in February 2020 that Staley had offered an account of his business relationship with Epstein and the bank’s board determined Staley had been “sufficiently transparent” in describing his links to the deceased convicted sex offender, according to the outlet.

While no details are available on the findings of the FCA and PRA probes, it appears the agencies “believe there was a distinct lack of transparency over this relationship,” said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, according to The Guardian.

The FCA and PRA issued a joint statement on Nov. 1, saying they “do not comment on ongoing investigations or regulatory proceedings beyond confirming the regulatory actions as detailed in the firm’s announcement.”

By Tom Ozimek

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