Barclays Backs CEO After Epstein Relationship Explanation

Tom Burroughes Group Editor London 13 February 2020


The UK lender says it recommends Jes Staley for re-election and said he had been sufficiently open about his relationship with the deceased financier.

Barclays today said it has full confidence in chief executive Jes Staley amid an investigation into how he has explained his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced financier who died last year in a US detention centre. 

The UK-listed bank, which reported its 2019 calendar year financial results yesterday, said its board of directors looked at media reports over the past six months that had highlighted “historical links between Mr Staley and Jeffrey Epstein”.

(Barclays’ results don’t split out performance of its wealth and investment business. At the overall group level, the bank yesterday said Group profit before tax was £4.4 billion (2018: £3.5 billon), including an additional provision for Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) of £1.4 billion (2018: £400 billion). Profit before tax, excluding litigation and conduct, was £6.2 billion (2018: £5.7 billion).)

“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. Mr Staley also confirmed to the board that he has had no contact whatsoever with Mr Epstein at any time since taking up his role as Barclays Group CEO in December 2015,” the bank said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange. 

The statement noted that the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK watchdog, had looked at this relationship. The bank regulator, the Prudential Regulation Authority, carried out an enquiry, which continues, 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”.

The bank said that based on a variety of information it has, it believes that Staley “has been sufficiently transparent with the company as regards the nature and extent of his relationship with Mr Epstein. Accordingly, Mr Staley retains the full confidence of the board, and is being unanimously recommended for re-election at the Annual General Meeting”.

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