Barclays bank CEO quits in shadow of probe of Jeffrey Epstein ties

British bank Barclays on Monday said chief executive Jes Staley had quit ahead of contesting the outcome of a U.K. probe into past links with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein .

Barclays, which had supported Staley during the investigation, added in a statement that the preliminary conclusion “makes no findings that Mr. Staley saw, or was aware of, any of Mr. Epstein’s alleged crimes.”

The bank added that Staley has been replaced by its head of global markets, C.S. Venkatakrishnan.

The statement added that Barclays and Staley were made aware late Friday of preliminary conclusions from the investigation carried out by British financial watchdogs.

“In view of those conclusions, and Mr. Staley’s intention to contest them, the board and Mr. Staley have agreed that he will step down from his role as group chief executive and as a director of Barclays,” the bank said.

Barclays CEO Jes Staley in London in January 2018. PETER NICHOLLS / REUTERS

“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,” it added.

Barclays said it was “disappointed” by the outcome, adding that “Staley has run the Barclays group successfully since December 2015 with real commitment and skill”.

The bank said Staley was entitled to 12 months’ notice and will continue to receive his annual cash and shares salary of the equivalent of $3.3 million plus pension and other benefits.

He is also entitled to repatriation costs to his home country, the United States.

In a brief statement, Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority, whose probe is being carried out along with the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority, said they “do not comment on ongoing investigations or regulatory proceedings.”

Staley has previously said his last contact with Epstein was in 2015.

This was ahead of Staley becoming Barclays CEO in December of that year and seven years after Epstein had been convicted of sex offenses.

“For sure, with hindsight with what we know now, I deeply regret having any relationship with Jeffrey,” Staley said last year, having embarked on a “professional relationship” with Epstein in 2000.

That was when Staley became head of JPMorgan’s private bank, of which Epstein was a client.

A wealthy financier, Epstein was found dead in a federal jail in Manhattan last August while awaiting trial on allegations that he trafficked girls as young as 14 for sex.

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