Barclays CEO Staley Replaced After Epstein Probe

Barclays CEO Staley Replaced After Epstein Probe
Jeffrey Epstein, Jes Staley
  • Staley will be succeeded as CEO by the bank’s head of global markets, C.S. Venkatakrishnan.
  • During his long tenure at JPMorgan, Staley interacted with Epstein, who was a key private banking customer until 2013.

Ekohotblog reports that Jes Staley, the CEO of Barclays, is leaving the business following a disagreement with British financial authorities about how he disclosed his links with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Barclays CEO Staley Replaced After Epstein Probe
Barclays CEO Jes Staley

Staley will be succeeded as CEO by C.S. Venkatakrishnan, the bank’s head of global markets, who committed on Monday to maintain his predecessor’s plan for Britain’s third-largest bank by market value.

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Staley’s abrupt departure comes after Barclays was informed on Friday of the unpublished findings of a report by Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) into Staley’s portrayal of his relationship with Epstein, who committed suicide in jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

“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.

“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,” it said in a statement.

The inquiry has yet to be disclosed, but authorities have already stated that it was focused on Staley’s honesty about his links to Epstein.

If Staley is proven to have lied to authorities, he may face punishment, a ban from the UK financial industry, or both.

Following the announcement, Barclays shares dipped 2% before recovering to trade 1% down at 1315 GMT, trailing European peers.

During his long tenure at JPMorgan, Staley interacted with Epstein, who was a key private banking customer until 2013.

A college dropout who styled himself as a brilliant financier, Epstein socialised in elite circles, including with former and future U.S. presidents. In 2008, he was registered as a sex offender but continued to maintain ties with powerful players in business and finance.

The New York Times reported in 2019 that Epstein had referred “dozens” of wealthy clients to Staley. It reported that Staley visited Epstein in prison when he was serving a sentence between 2008-09 for soliciting prostitution from a minor, while Bloomberg reported he visited Epstein’s private island in 2015.

Staley told reporters last February that his relationship with Epstein had “tapered off significantly” after he left JPMorgan in 2013, and that he had not seen the disgraced financier since taking over as CEO of Barclays in 2015.

“I thought I knew him well, and I didn’t. I’m sure with hindsight of what we all know now, I deeply regret having had any relationship with Jeffrey Epstein,” he said at the time.

Epstein’s connections with influential people have come back to harm some of them.

The billionaire investor Leon Black resigned from Apollo Global Management (APO.N), the private equity firm he co-founded, earlier this year after an outside assessment discovered he had paid Epstein $158 million for tax and estate planning.

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Prince Andrew of the United Kingdom has resigned from royal responsibilities as a result of his links with Epstein, while Microsoft (MSFT.O) co-founder Bill Gates has stated that spending time with the financier was a “big mistake.”

Britain’s FCA and PRA regulators said in a statement they could not comment further on the Epstein investigation, which was launched after JPMorgan (JPM.N) provided them with emails between Epstein and Staley from Staley’s time as head of JPMorgan’s private bank, the Financial Times reported last year.

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