Economy

Barclays CEO Jes Staley under investigation over links with Jeffrey Epstein

Barclays CEO Jes Staley under investigation over links with Jeffrey Epstein”

Barclays Plc's Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley is being investigated over his ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, his second run-in with British regulators since he joined the bank in 2015.

The investigation into Jes Staley's links with Epstein will look at his "characterisation to the company of his relationship" with Epstein.

In its statement, Barclays said it believes Staley has been "sufficiently transparent" and as a result, "retains the full confidence of the Board, and is being unanimously recommended for re-election at the Annual General Meeting".

In a statement released on Thursday, the bank announced that the widely reported ties between the financiers are the subject of an ongoing probe, launched by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

The bank said the two men were acquainted when Staley ran the private banking division of JP Morgan, but that Staley had had no contact with Epstein after joining Barclays in December 2015. "I'm sure with hindsight of what we all know now, I deeply regret having had any relationship with Jeffrey Epstein", he said.

The bank says it challenged Staley over his ties to the perverted moneyman previous year when the Epstein scandal blew up after he was charged with further serious sex crimes and ultimately hanged himself. Barclays was additionally slapped with a $15-million fine by a NY regulator over the scandal.

He said his last contact with Epstein was in the summer and autumn of 2015, seven years after Epstein was convicted in Florida of solicitation of prostitution involving a minor and a prostitution charge.

Barclays said the Financial Conduct Authority had asked a year ago about the relationship, and the company had responded. Staley also revealed that he visited Epstein's infamous Caribbean estate in the US Virgin Islands months before he took the Barclays job.

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Shares in the bank were trading 3% lower in London on Thursday morning.

Barclays paid Staley $7.6 million past year, up from his $4.36 million salary in 2018.

"I thought I knew him well, and I didn't".

Both Staley and Finance Director Tushar Morzaria took cuts to their pension allowances in 2019, and will now receive fixed cash contributions equating to 10 per cent of salary in line with the broader work force.

Its profit was 9 percent higher than in 2018 and above the 5.7 billion pound ($7.39bn) average of analysts' forecasts compiled by the bank.

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

A Wall Street veteran, Staley has remained committed to growing investment banking at Barclays, even as European peers scale back in this area in favor of wealth management.

Barclays paid a dividend of nine pence ($0.12) for the year, compared with 6.5 pence ($0.08) for 2018, as its core capital ratio came in at a better-than-expected 13.8 percent.



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