Britain’s financial regulator on Thursday barred James E. Staley, the former chief executive of Barclays, from holding senior positions in the country’s financial industry for misleading officials about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. The punishment, which also included a fine of 1.8 million pounds, or $2.2 million, is the latest meted out to the associate of Mr. Epstein, the disgraced financier who killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019.
Mr. Staley is appealing the decision to a tribunal.
Why It Matters: A further fall from grace for a once-highflying banker.
Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority said that Mr. Staley had misled regulators and Barclays in 2019 about the depth of his ties to Mr. Epstein, whom he had retained as a client and adviser while working as an executive at JPMorgan Chase.
For decades, Mr. Staley had been seen as a rising star in banking, climbing the ranks at JPMorgan. In 2015, he was the first American to be chief executive of Barclays, one of Britain’s largest banks. But Mr. Staley’s longstanding ties to Mr. Epstein came under scrutiny after the financier’s arrest on child sex trafficking charges in 2019. British regulators opened an inquiry in 2020 into how Mr. Staley characterized his relationship with Mr. Epstein. Mr. Staley stepped down from Barclays in 2021.
Last month, JPMorgan reached a confidential settlement in its lawsuit against Mr. Staley, who had been one of the biggest advocates for keeping Mr. Epstein as a client at the bank.
Background: Mr. Staley had a longstanding ties to Mr. Epstein.
In a letter to Barclays and the F.C.A. in 2019, Mr. Staley said that he did not have a close relationship with Mr. Epstein, who was convicted 11 years earlier on a prostitution charge involving a teenage girl. But in private emails between the two, according to the regulator, he described Mr. Epstein as one of his “deepest” and “most cherished” friends.
Mr. Staley also told regulators that he had cut ties with Mr. Epstein well before becoming Barclays’s chief executive — but officials found that they had been in contact as recently as October 2015, when he was announced as the bank’s leader.
Barclays initially stood by Mr. Staley, saying he had been “sufficiently transparent” about his relationship with Mr. Epstein. Mr. Staley said that he had been “transparent and open” with the bank.
“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,” Therese Chambers, a top enforcement official at the F.C.A., said in Thursday’s statement.
Lawyers for Mr. Staley did not respond to a request for comment.