James “Jes” Staley, the former JPMorgan Chase executive who was CEO of Barclays for six years, has been banned from holding senior roles in the UK financial services industry for misleading regulators about his relationship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
The Financial Conduct Authority has decided to fine Staley £1.8 million ($2.2 million) and ban him from holding “a senior management or significant influence function” in the industry, the watchdog said in a statement Thursday.
“A CEO needs to exercise sound judgment and set an example to staff at their firm. Mr Staley failed to do this,” Therese Chambers, joint executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said in the statement.
“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.”
Epstein was convicted of sex crimes in 2008 and died by suicide in 2019 while in detention in New York awaiting trial on separate charges accusing him of sexually abusing underage girls.
The FCA found that Staley “recklessly” approved a letter Barclays sent to the watchdog, which contained two misleading statements, the agency said.
The letter, in response to an FCA request in August 2019, claimed that Staley did not have a close relationship with Epstein.
“In reality, in emails between the two Mr Staley described Mr Epstein as one of his ‘deepest’ and ‘most cherished’ friends,’” the FCA said.
The Barclays letter also claimed Staley had ceased contact with Epstein well before he joined the British bank in December 2015. However, Staley was in contact with Epstein in the days leading up to Oct. 28 that year, when his appointment as CEO was announced, the watchdog noted.
Staley, who spent 30 years at JPMorgan and once ran the bank’s asset management business, has appealed the FCA’s ruling, referring it to the Upper Tribunal, the FCA said.