- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 13, 2020

British financial regulators are investigating ties between Barclays PLC chief executive Jes Staley and billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, the bank said Thursday.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, Barclays said the British Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the U.K. banking regulator Prudential Regulation Authority are investigating Mr. Staley’s relationship with Epstein.

The agencies are looking into Mr. Staley’s “characterization to the company of his relationship with Mr. Epstein and subsequent description of that relationship in the company’s response to the FCA.”

Barclays said the FCA had inquired last year about the relationship and the company responded.

The FCA investigates whether executives are “fit and proper” to lead financial companies based on honesty, integrity, reputation, competence and financial soundness, according to its website.

Barclays described Mr. Staley’s ties to Epstein as “professional.”

“Mr. Staley retains the full confidence of the board, and is being unanimously recommended for reelection at the annual general meeting,” the British bank said in a statement.

Mr. Staley addressed his ties to Epstein while speaking Thursday with reporters, saying he deeply regrets the relationship.

“I thought I knew him well and I didn’t,” Mr. Staley said. “For sure, with hindsight, with what we all know, I deeply regret having any relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.”

Ties between the two men were widely reported last year after Epstein was arrested on sex trafficking charges. He was found dead in August in his cell at a New York detention center. The New York medical examiner ruled the death a suicide.

Mr. Staley said he first met Epstein in 2000 while working at JPMorgan Chase but their contact began to “taper off” after he left the financial firm. He said he had not had contact with Epstein since 2015.

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