Barclays boss investigated over 'historical links' with Jeffrey Epstein

Pedro Gonçalves
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Barclays boss investigated over 'historical links' with Jeffrey Epstein

Barclays boss Jes Staley has admitted he remained in contact with Jeffrey Epstein for seven years after the American financier had been convicted of sex offences with minors, following investigations by UK regulators into these "historical links".

Barclays Bank said the investigation, launched by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in December, focused on Staley's "characterisation to the company of his relationship with Epstein and the subsequent description of that relationship in the company's response to the FCA".

The American banking boss, who joined Barclays in 2015, says he developed a relationship with Epstein in 2000 when he was running the private bank at JP Morgan. Epstein died in prison last year while awaiting trial on charges of sex-trafficking underage girls.

Obviously I thought I knew him well and I didn’t. For sure, with hindsight with what we know now, I deeply regret having any relationship with Jeffrey"

Staley was introduced to Epstein while running JP Morgan's private bank division - and reports about the relationship have arisen in the past six months.

He said on Thursday that the last contact he had with Epstein was in the summer/autumn period of 2015 - seven years after the financier's conviction for sex offences - adding that he "deeply regrets" the relationship.

Staley said: "It has been very well known I had a professional relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. It goes back to 2000 when I was asked to run the JP Morgan private bank and he was already a client when I joined the private bank.

"The relationship was maintained during my time at JP Morgan but as I left JP Morgan the relationship tapered off quite significantly. "It began to taper off as I left JP Morgan and contact became much less frequent.

"Obviously I thought I knew him well and I didn't. For sure, with hindsight with what we know now, I deeply regret having any relationship with Jeffrey."

The Financial Conduct Authority oversees bad behaviour in the City, while the Prudential Regulation Authority looks into financial stability.

Barclays said it had conducted an internal review and had no concerns over the way its chief executive had characterised his dealings with the the US financier revealed as a paedophile. A spokesman said the bank had been aware of the relationship with Epstein before Staley's appointment in October 2015. Under his stewardship, the bank's shares have lost about 25% of their value.

The revelation comes as the bank said pre-tax profits for the year jumped 25% to £4.4bn, with its preferred measure of "return on tangible equity" up 9%.

Barclays annual report was also published, showing that Mr Staley took home a pay packet of £5.93m - up from £3.86m a year earlier.

The board said it is confident that Staley's explanation is enough to recommend him for re-election.

 

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