LONDON (AP) — Britain’s financial regulator said on Thursday that former Barclays Bank chief executive Jes Staley has been fined 1.8 million pounds ($2.2 million) and banned from holding senior financial roles in the United Kingdom for misleading it over the nature of his relationship with the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The Financial Conduct Authority said in a statement that Staley, a U.S. citizen, had “recklessly approved” a letter sent by Barclays to the FCA, which claimed the bank’s former boss did not have a close relationship with Epstein.
But in email messages, Staley described Epstein as one of his “deepest” and “most cherished” friends, according to the regulator. Staley had acted as a private banker to the disgraced financier during his previous time at JP Morgan, where he worked for more than 30 years.
Staley, 66, stepped down from Barclays in 2021 as criticism over his ties to Epstein, who killed himself in a federal jail in August 2019, a month after his arrest on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges
“A CEO needs to exercise sound judgement and set an example to staff at their firm,” said Therese Chambers, joint executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA.
Staley, she added, “failed to do this.”
As a result, Chambers said it is “right” to prevent him from holding a senior position in the financial services industry.
The FCA’s decision is provisional and Staley, who has previously said he “deeply regrets” his relationship with Epstein, can appeal at an ensuing tribunal.
Barclays said that following the FCA’s decision, Staley was ineligible for, or would forfeit, bonuses and share awards totaling 17.8 million pounds ($21.9 million).
The banking giant had already suspended all of Staley’s deferred bonuses and long-term share awards while the watchdog investigated.
Staley has said that he had no contact with Epstein once he joined Barclays in December 2015. Earlier that year, he and his wife sailed to Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean for lunch.
Last month, JP Morgan Chase said it had agreed to pay $75 million to the U.S. Virgin Islands to settle claims that the bank enabled Epstein’s sex-trafficking acts.
JP Morgan also reached a confidential settlement with Staley, who it had sued for allegedly concealing his personal activities with Epstein from the bank.