Jes Staley has stepped down as chief executive of one of Britain’s biggest banks—four years after concerns were first raised about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.
Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority is investigating whether the Barclays boss gave a full account of his friendship with the convicted pedophile.
Staley stepped down today, November 1, vowing to challenge the probe, which is yet to publish any findings.
The bank’s share price fell three percent in response to the news but subsequently rallied.
A statement by Barclays read: “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.
“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.”
However, questions over Staley’s relationship with Epstein have circulated ever since he was first appointed.
Jes Staley at JP Morgan
The banking executive reportedly built up a relationship with Epstein while he was at JP Morgan, where he ran the private bank and asset management division from 2000.
Quoted by the BBC, he said in February, 2020: “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. 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.”
Jes Staley’s Move to Barclays
When he first got the job at Barclays there were unconfirmed reports in U.K. newspaper of record, The Times, that Epstein lobbied for him to get the role.
Barclays has previously said Staley had no contact with Epstein after joining the bank in December 2015, the BBC reported.
However, that was some seven years after Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution in 2008.
Concerns about Staley’s relationship with the financier appeared to flare after Epstein was newly arrested and then died in his jail cell in an apparent suicide in August 2019.
It was then that he gave an account of his relationship with the convicted pedophile to Barclays.
British banking regulators the FCA and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) launched an investigation which became publicly known about in February 2020.
In February 2020, Barclays said in a statement to the stock market: “As has been widely reported, earlier in his career Mr Staley developed a professional relationship with Mr Epstein.
“In the summer of 2019, in light of the renewed media interest in the relationship, Mr Staley volunteered and gave to certain executives, and the chairman, an explanation of his relationship with Mr Epstein.”
They said in a statement today, November 1: “‘The FCA and PRA do not comment on ongoing investigations or regulatory proceedings beyond confirming the regulatory actions as detailed in the firm’s announcement.”
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