Jes Staley, former CEO of Barclays, arrives at the offices of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP in New York on June 11, 2023.
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LONDON — Former Barclays CEO Jes Staley on Thursday was fined and banned from holding any position of influence in the U.K. financial services industry for misleading the regulator over his relationship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
U.K. regulator the Financial Conduct Authority announced Thursday that it had decided to fine Staley £1.8 million ($2.21 million) and ban him from holding a senior management or significant influence function in the sector.
The FCA found that Staley “recklessly approved” a letter sent by Barclays to the regulator that contained two misleading statements about the nature of his relationship with Epstein and the point of their last contact.
Therese Chambers, joint executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said in a statement Thursday that a CEO “needs to exercise sound judgment and set an example to staff at their firm.”
“Mr Staley failed to do this. We consider that he misled both the FCA and the Barclays Board about the nature of his relationship with Mr Epstein,” Chambers said.
“Mr Staley is an experienced industry professional and held a prominent position within financial services. It is right to prevent him from holding a senior position in the financial services industry if we cannot rely on him to act with integrity by disclosing uncomfortable truths about his close personal relationship with Mr Epstein.”
Staley stepped down as CEO of the British lender in November 2021 following the findings of an initial FCA probe into his characterization of his ties with the disgraced former financier, who died by suicide in 2019 in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center after being charged with child sex trafficking.
The FCA asked Barclays in August 2019 to explain what it had done to satisfy itself that there was no impropriety in the relationship between the two men, and Staley approved a letter suggesting that they did not have a close relationship.
Emails subsequently emerged in which Staley described Epstein as one of his “deepest” and “most cherished” friends, the FCA confirmed. Barclays’ letter also claimed Staley had ceased contact with Epstein long before he joined the bank in December 2015. He was later discovered to have spoken to Epstein on Oct. 28, 2015.
Staley has referred the decision to the upper tribunal for consideration.
In a market notice Thursday, Barclays said it had determined that Staley should be ineligible for or forfeit a number of past bonuses and compensation awards from the company totaling £17.8 million.
Barclays declined to comment further on the matter.