City watchdog investigates Barclays boss Jes Staley's links with Jeffrey Epstein

Marco Green
February 13, 2020

Barclays PLC said Thursday that Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley retains the board's full confidence despite a United Kingdom regulatory investigation concerning his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, as it reported its 2019 results.

"Obviously I thought I knew him well", Staley told journalists.

Britain's Financial Conduct Authority, along with the regulatory watchdog, Prudential Regulation Authority are looking into "Mr. Staley's characterisation to the company of his relationship with Mr. Epstein, and the subsequent description of that relationship, in the company's response to the FCA", Barclays said in a statement on Thursday while reporting fourth quarter earnings. "I'm sure with hindsight of what we all know now, I deeply regret having had any relationship with Jeffrey Epstein", he said. An article stated Staley visited Epstein while he was serving time for soliciting prostitution from a minor and suggested the pair had a close business relationship over many years.

Because he has been "sufficiently transparent with the company as regards the nature and extent of his relationship with Mr. Epstein", the bank said, "Mr. Staley retains the full confidence of the board".

The New York Times previous year said Epstein had referred "dozens" of wealthy clients to Staley when the chief executive ran JPMorgan's private banking business.

The professional relationship began in 2000 during his days at JPMorgan's private bank, where Epstein was a client.

Staley, whose pay packet for the year swelled to £5.9mln from £3.4mln, told reporters on a call on Thursday that the relationship "tapered off significantly" after he left the Wall Street bank in 2013.

Paedophile Financier Jeffrey Epstein
Paedophile Financier Jeffrey Epstein

His bonus also rose to 1.65 million pounds ($2.14m), reflecting the bank's strong annual performance.

Lower-paid employees will see their employer pension contributions rise to 12 percent.

Analysts had expected Barclays to report a pretax profit of GBP4.44 billion, taken from FactSet and based on 14 analysts' estimates.

The UK lender also reiterated its ambition of achieving a 10 percent return on equity this year, although it repeated a warning from October that the worsening economic outlook might make reaching that target hard.

"Like Teflon: that's one way to describe CEO Jes Staley", said Neil Wilson at Markets.com.

The bank declared a final dividend of 9.0 pence a share, up from 6.5 pence a share a year earlier.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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