Barclays chief exec steps down over Epstein investigation

Barclays has announced that Jes Staley, the bank’s chief executive and director, will be stepping down following a probe by UK financial watchdogs into his links to Jeffery Epstein.

Barclays said that the bank and Staley had been made aware on Friday evening of the preliminary conclusions from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority’s (PRA) investigation into how the chief exec had characterised his relationship with the late Epstein and the following description of that relationship in Barclays' response to the FCA.

“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,” said the British multinational bank in a statement.

In 2000, Staley worked at JP Morgan, where he reportedly developed a relationship with Epstein. According to the BBC, the late financier was convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor eight years later, but Staley admitted that he continued contact with him for seven years after the conviction.

The board added that it was disappointed with the outcome, highlighting that the investigation made no findings that Staley saw or was aware of any of Epstein’s alleged crimes. The bank described this as the “central question underpinning Barclays' support” for the executive following the arrest of Epstein in the summer of 2019.

Barclays explained that while the regulatory process still has to run its full course, it would not be appropriate to comment further on the initial conclusions made by the regulatory bodies.

The former chief exec is entitled to 12 months’ notice from Barclays and so will continue to receive his current fixed pay of £2.4 million per annum and a pension allowance of £120,000 per annum.

The FCA and the PRA said that they do not comment on ongoing investigations or regulatory proceedings, but did confirm the regulatory actions as detailed by the bank.

With effect from 1 November 2021, C.S. Venkatakrishnan - known as Venkat - will take over as group chief executive, subject to regulatory approval, and as a director of Barclays.

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