Finance

Barclays CEO stepping down after Epstein probe

Barclays headquarters in London
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Barclays CEO Jes Staley is stepping down from his post following an investigation into his ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

In a statement on Monday, Barclays said the company and Staley were informed of the probe’s preliminary findings on Friday evening, which led to the resignation decision.

“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, according to CNBC.

While it did not reveal many details on those conclusions, Barclays did say 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.”

The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority led the investigation, according to CNBC.

The company said the probe was looking into Staley’s “characterisation to Barclays of his relationship with the late Mr Jeffrey Epstein and the subsequent description of that relationship in Barclays’ response to the FCA.”

The Barclays board was “disappointed at this outcome,” the company said in its statement, citing Staley’s accomplishments at the organization.

C.S. Venkatakrishnan, Barclays head of global markets, will assume the chief executive role and serve as a director of Barclays, subject to regulatory approval. The company said it “has had success planning in hand for some time,” and identified Venkatakrishnan as a “preferred candidate for this role over a year ago.”

According to CNBC, Barclays shares were trading 1.2 percent lower on Monday morning after the company revealed the leadership change.

Staley intends to contest the investigation’s preliminary findings, Barclays wrote in its statement. The executive has previously said he “deeply regrets” his connection to Epstein, according to The Associated Press.

The last contact between the two was in the fall of 2015, according to the AP, when Staley and his wife visited Epstein’s private island for lunch. That was just before Staley was hired by Barclays.

He said he did not have any contact with the disgraced financier after joining Barclays in December 2015.

Epstein was found dead in his jail cell in August 2019 while he was awaiting trial for allegations of sex trafficking. The New York City’s Medical Examiner later ruled that he died by suicide from hanging.

Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite and close confidant of Epstein, is now awaiting trial after being accused of helping Epstein recruit and sexually abuse underage girls.

Updated at 5:01 p.m.

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