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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Jes Staley and Epstein exchanged 1,200 emails containing unexplainable phrases

According to a person familiar with the correspondence between the former Barclays Bank CEO and the convicted sex offender, Jess Staley exchanged 1,200 emails with Jeffrey Epstein over the course of four years. It contains unexplainable terms such as “Snow White.”

Staley resigned from Barclays after seeing it last week Preliminary Conclusions An investigation by British regulators investigated whether he mischaracterized his relationship with Epstein as a pure professional. He has stated that he will challenge the findings of the investigation.

The core of the investigation is the e-mail cache that JPMorgan Chase first provided to US regulators, where Stalley has worked for more than 30 years and held various positions, including Epstein as the head of his client’s private bank.

Epstein committed suicide in 2019 while he was awaiting trial on charges of engaging in sex transactions with underage girls.

So far, neither the e-mail traffic between the two nor any content has been made public.

According to people familiar with the matter, many of the emails sent between 2008 and 2012 are facts—for example, discussing news articles or arranging to meet for drinks—but show a close relationship between the two.

However, the regulator has emphasized certain terms that have no obvious meaning. A person familiar with the matter said that the reference for “Snow White” was written in a brief, two-information exchange, referring to a conversation that these people had personally had before. Another person familiar with the matter said that the regulatory agencies of the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority have not yet reached a conclusion on the phrase.

Staley’s lawyer, Kathleen Harris, said: “We want to make it clear that our client is not involved in any crimes committed by Mr. Epstein and that Mr. Staley is in any communication with Mr. Epstein. No password has ever been used in., Ever.” She said all emails are harmless.

Barclays pointed to an earlier statement stating that “the investigation did not find that Mr. Staley saw or knew anything about Mr. Epstein’s alleged crime”. JPMorgan Chase declined to comment.

Staley’s connection with Epstein began in the early 2000s, when Epstein, who was managing money for billionaires, was a client of JPMorgan Chase Private Bank. They became close enough that Staley visited Epstein while serving his sentence in Florida in 2009 because he made a living and solicited for prostitution.

Staley has stated that after he left Bank of America in 2013, their relationship began to “gradually ease.” However, just a few months before joining Barclays in 2015, Staley drove his yacht to Epstein’s private Caribbean island. According to the British “Financial Times” previously reported, he also allowed Epstein to mentor one of his daughters during college applications.

Staley has stated that after visiting the island, he has no contact with Epstein and is currently contesting the findings of the regulatory agency.He hired Harris, Arnold & Porter’s London managing partner, and a former senior official of the UK Serious Fraud Office, he also represented him in a previous investigation of his attempts to expose the whistleblower. He was condemned and fined £642,000 in 2018.

People familiar with the matter told the Financial Times that although they knew that Staley was in contact with Epstein when he joined Barclays, the FCA and PRA began a formal investigation after receiving email caches from US regulators in 2019.

People familiar with the matter said that Barclays Bank first received notification of these e-mails in early December 2019 when its chairman Nigel Higgins was summoned to meet with then Bank of England Governor Mark Carney.

Regulators worry that these emails contradict an earlier letter sent by the bank, which described the relationship as professional. They urge the board to review the new information and check whether the CEO has played down his connection with the discouraged financier.

Over the next two months, the bank carefully reviewed a large number of documents with the assistance of the law firm Clifford Chance. Two people familiar with the matter said that Staley considered resigning at one time, but was persuaded to stay.

Barclays decided to support Staley, believing that he was honest about the relationship, and decided that he could not draw any conclusions about unexplainable language.

In February last year, the bank stated that the CEO “maintained sufficient transparency to the company regarding the nature and extent of his relationship with Mr. Epstein” and maintained the “full confidence” of the board of directors.

Overall, the FCA investigation took 22 months to reach a conclusion, and it has not yet been made public. People familiar with the matter said that important witnesses in the case were interviewed at the end of 2020, but the process was delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Regulators are concerned about whether Staley was “completely candid” with them in the initial disclosures and subsequent interviews. The regulations require companies to contact the FCA in an “open and cooperative manner” and disclose any content of the “reasonable expectation notice” of the regulator.

If Staley continues to dispute the findings, the case will be submitted to the FCA’s Regulatory Decision Committee, an independent body composed of senior lawyers and bankers. They can support the original findings of the regulator, or they can reject them. If the original verdict is upheld, Staley can still appeal to the court. This process may take several years.

Additional reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York

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