Barclays' CEO Resigns After Probe into Relationship with Jeffrey Epstein
The resignation was preceded by the announcement of preliminary investigation results into the Staley-Epstein relationship on Friday.
On Monday, Barclays had announced Jes Staley's decision to resign after British regulators probed into his relationship with financier Jeffrey Epstein's. Staley claims the pair severed all contact in 2015, when he assumed his position as CEO in the banking giant.
Following the announcement, Barclays' shares fell 2%.
On Friday evening, Barclays saw the preliminary conclusions provided by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulatory Authority's probe into the relationship between "suicided" sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and the Barclays director.
"In view of those conclusions, and Mr Staley's intention to contest them, the board [of Barclays] and Mr Staley have agreed that he will step down from his role as group chief executive and as a director of Barclays," the British bank said in a statement on Monday.
According to Staley, his decision to resign aims at relieving the financial institution from any "distractions" caused by his "personal response".
"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," the bank added.
The relationship between Staley and Epstein began at JPMorgan, another banking giant where Staley served as head of the investment banking division for more than 30 years. Epstein was a major private client at the time until 2013, with his relationship with Staley starting to taper off right after.
Reporters asked whether Staley regretted his relationship with the pedophile, to which he responded: "Obviously I thought I knew him well and I didn't. And for sure with hindsight of what we all know now I deeply regret having had any relationship with Jeffrey Epstein."
Although Staley claimed that this relationship ended after he left JPMorgan Chase, UK regulators have their doubts: "Although detail is limited, it appears regulators believe there was a distinct lack of transparency over this relationship," said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, a UK broker. "It's understood Mr Staley will contest the conclusions, and clearly the board want to distance Barclays from what could be a long drawn out process."
Barclay's share price has fallen 9% since Staley became CEO of the bank in 2015.
CS Venkatakrishnan, the bank’s former head of global markets, will be appointed as the CEO immediately, the bank said.
In 2018, UK financial regulators and Barclays fined Staley $1.5 million in 2018 after he attempted to identify a whistleblower at the bank, who had sent anonymous letters about a senior Barclays employee.
Epstein was found dead in his prison cell - one designed for preventing suicide - on August 10, 2019. His death remains questioned by many, notably as his list of connections and clientele was expansive and included highly powerful and influential figures, such as former US President Bill Clinton, former US President Donald Trump, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and UK’s Prince Andrew.
Last August, a victim of sex trafficking sued Prince Andrew for sexual abuse. She claimed to have been abused by the Prince on multiple occasions when she was 17, including in Epstein's partner Ghislaine Maxwell’s London home.