FCA provisionally fines Jes Staley £1.8m and bans him from the industry over Epstein links

Watchdog said Staley ‘recklessly approved’ a misleading letter

Jes Staley
Jes Staley. Copyright Flickr/World Economic Forum/Manuel Lopez


The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has provisionally fined former Barclays CEO James ‘Jes’ Staley £1.8m and banned him from holding a senior management or significant influence function in the financial services industry.

Staley has referred the Decision Notice to the Upper Tribunal, where he will present his case.

The action relates to Staley’s alleged dealings with Jeffrey Epstein. The watchdog said it has found Staley ‘recklessly approved’ a letter sent to it by Barclays, which contained two misleading statements about the nature of his relationship with Epstein and the point of their last contact.

The FCA said that in August 2019 it asked Barclays to explain what it had done to satisfy itself that there was no impropriety in the relationship between Staley and Epstein.

The response relied on information supplied by Staley, and he confirmed the letter was fair and accurate.

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The letter claimed Staley did not have a close relationship with Epstein. In reality, in emails between the two, Staley described Epstein as one of his “deepest” and “most cherished” friends, the FCA said.

The letter also claimed Staley ceased contact with Epstein well before he joined Barclays, while the FCA found Staley was in contact with Epstein in the days leading up to his appointment as CEO being announced on 28 October 2015. Staley joined Barclays in December 2015.

Therese Chambers, joint executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, commented: “A CEO needs to exercise sound judgement and set an example to staff at their firm. Mr Staley failed to do this. We consider that he misled both the FCA and the Barclays Board about the nature of his relationship with Mr Epstein.

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“Mr Staley is an experienced industry professional and held a prominent position within financial services. It is right to prevent him from holding a senior position in the financial services industry if we cannot rely on him to act with integrity by disclosing uncomfortable truths about his close personal relationship with Mr Epstein.”

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