Barclays has frozen the company's ex-CEO out of his multi-million bonus amid concerns over his ties to Jeffrey Epstein. The bank revealed it was withholding Jes Staley's shares worth a whopping $29 million, pending an investigation by British banking regulators. Staley's share payments and bonus have been suspended, Barclays revealed in their annual report on Wednesday.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) are probing into Staley's links to the businessman-turned-accused trafficker. The investigation is centered around how Staley characterized his relationship with Epstein, who killed himself in 2019 while awaiting his trial.
According to reports, the duo's relationship dates back to 2000 — more than a decade before Staley joined Barclays as the CEO.
Staley left Barclays last year after being informed of the investigation. The banker — whose net worth is estimated to be $120 million — is contesting the preliminary conclusions of the probe. Before his position at the bank, Staley worked for more than 30 years at JPMorgan as the head of its investment banking division.
He's spoken out about his ties to Epstein, telling reporters that their relationship grew almost non-existent after he left JPMorgan.
"He was already a client. The relationship was maintained during my time at JPMorgan, but as I left Morgan it tapered off quite significantly," Staley said in February 2020.
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In regards to Epstein's alleged illegal activities, Staley denied knowing anything about his criminal affairs. "Obviously I thought I knew him well and I didn't," he said at the time. "And for sure with hindsight of what we all know now I deeply regret having had any relationship with Jeffrey Epstein."
Staley told Barclays he had no communication with Epstein after joining their bank as CEO.
Staley isn't walking out empty-handed. According to reports, the ex-bank boss gets his annual fixed pay worth $3.3 million in both cash and shares. Staley will also receive a fixed pension of $164,000, as well as other benefits until October.
Barclays "does not currently expect to make further decisions" on Staley's bonus "until the conclusion of ... regulatory and legal proceedings."