Jes Staley, Departing Barclays CEO, Will Contest Jeffrey Epstein Probe

The chief executive of Barclays bank is stepping down following an investigation into his links to the billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Barclays said they have reached an agreement with Jes Staley in the wake of the preliminary conclusions of a probe by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority over his relationship with Epstein, who died in August 2019.

In a statement, Barclays said that Staley intends to contest the findings of the investigation, which states that he did not see "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."

Staley will now step down from his role as Group Chief Executive and director of Barclays.

"The Board is disappointed at this outcome. Mr Staley has run the Barclays Group successfully since December 2015 with real commitment and skill," Barclays said in a statement.

It is unclear what the findings of the report will ultimately reveal. In a joint statement, the FCA and the Prudential Regulation Authority said they "do not comment on ongoing investigations or regulatory proceedings beyond confirming the regulatory actions as detailed in the firm's announcement."

The investigation was launched in 2019 and focused on Staley's "characterization to the company of his relationship with Mr Epstein and the subsequent description of that relationship in the company's response to the FCA," Barclays said at the time.

Staley admitted he remained in contact for years after Epstein was convicted of child sex offenses in 2008 and visited him on his infamous private Caribbean island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Little St. James, in 2015, reported The Guardian.

Staley said his relationship with Epstein began in 2000 while he was working at JP Morgan, where the billionaire was a client.

"The relationship was maintained during my time at JP Morgan but as I left JP Morgan the relationship tapered off quite significantly," Staley told reporters in February 2020.

"Obviously I thought I knew him well and I didn't. For sure, with hindsight with what we know now, I deeply regret having any relationship with Jeffrey."

Epstein died by suicide in his prison cell in New York while awaiting trial for child sex trafficking offenses.

Following Staley's departure, Barclays said C.S. Venkatakrishnan, known as Venkat, will be the new CEO pending regulatory approval.

Staley will also be entitled 12 months' pay, totaling £2.4 million ($3.28 million) as well as his £120,000 ($164,000) pension allowance and other benefits until October 31, 2022.

Jes Staley  epstein
Chief Executive of Barclays Jes Staley attends the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit at Union West Events on October 10, 2019 in New York City. Jim Spellman/Getty Images