Former Barclays Chief Executive Jes Staley was fined 1.8 million pounds (U.S. $2.2 million) and banned from serving in a senior management role in the financial services industry by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for allegedly misleading the regulator regarding his ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Staley “recklessly” approved a letter from Barclays to the FCA that lied about the nature of his relationship with Epstein and when their last contact occurred, the regulator said Thursday in a press release.
Staley appealed the FCA’s decision to a tribunal.
Staley stepped down as CEO of Barclays in November 2021 after a cache of emails from his previous employer, JPMorgan Chase, appeared to reveal his true relationship with Epstein, who died in prison in 2019. The FCA and Prudential Regulation Authority were investigating Staley at the time.
The details: The FCA found the letter misleading in two material respects, according to its decision notice.
First, the letter claimed Staley did not have a “close relationship” with Epstein, despite the pair corresponding via email approximately 1,700 times between July 2008 and October 2015, the FCA said.
In the emails, Staley allegedly described their friendship to be “profound” and said he counted Epstein among his “most cherished” friends.
Second, the letter claimed Staley last contacted Epstein “well before he joined Barclays in 2015,” despite the duo emailing three days before his appointment, the FCA found.
Staley approved the letter after senior executives at Barclays asked him if it was “fair and accurate,” the FCA alleged. The regulator said it relied on the assurance provided by Barclays in the letter to drop further inquiries into the bank and Staley.
“Had the letter accurately described the nature of the relationship … or the point at which the two last were in contact, the authority would have been in a position at that stage to have considered whether it needed to ask further questions … and seek clarity on the nature and extent of the relationship,” the decision notice stated.
Compliance considerations: The FCA noted Staley’s previous disciplinary record factored into its decision, referring to a £642,430 fine (then-U.S. $870,000) against him in May 2018 for attempting to unmask a whistleblower.
Staley last month resolved litigation brought against him by JPMorgan regarding his relationship with Epstein for undisclosed terms.
Staley’s representatives at law firm Arnold & Porter did not respond to a request for comment.