Financial regulators in Britain are investigating the links between Barclays Chief Executive Jes Staley and the late US financier Jeffrey Epstein, the bank said on Thursday. The British bank said the move comes in the backdrop of media reports in the last several months that linked the CEO to Epstein, who committed suicide while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Barclays also said Staley has been sufficiently transparent with the company as regards the nature and extent of his relationship with Epstein. Staely's relationship with Epstein was described as professional in nature, and the bank added that the two had no contact since Staley joined Barclays in 2015.

Well-connected tycoon with mighty friends

Epstein, the pedophile US financier, was a well-connected business tycoon who developed close ties with people in the top rungs of the society. His former friends include the likes of US President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton.

Barclays UK HQ
Barclays UK HQ Wikimedia Commons

"As has been widely reported, earlier in his career Mr. Staley developed a professional relationship with Mr. Epstein. In the summer of 2019, in light of the renewed media interest in the relationship, Mr. Staley volunteered and gave to certain executives, and the Chairman, an explanation of his relationship with Mr. Epstein," Barclays said in a statement.

Staley says he regrets friendship with Epstein

Meanwhile, Staley told reporters on Thursday that he regretted his relationship with Epstein. He said the relationship began in 2000 while he was with JPMorgan in the US. Staley, who is an American, said the relationship tapered off significantly after he left JPMorgan. "I thought I knew him well, and I didn't. I'm sure with hindsight of what we all know now, I deeply regret having had any relationship with Jeffrey Epstein," he said, according to Reuters.

Jeffrey Epstein
Jeffrey Epstein Twitter/Jeffrey Epstein

New York Times expose

Epstein was accused by multiple women of rape and sexual assault. He was arrested in July, on a number of charges of trafficking young women and underage girls for sexual gratification between 2002 to 2005. The 'sex slaves' were employed at his homes in New York City and Palm Beach, Florida, where he used to entertain his guests, including sacked Prince Andrew.

Prince Andrew
Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts Giuffre, along with Ghislaine Maxwell. Florida Southern District Court

Epstein's connection with Staley became the talking point after the New York Times reported about their relationship in July. The report said that Epstein introduced several wealthy clients to Staley at the beginning of his career.