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Staley ’79 under investigation for relationship with Jeffrey Epstein

February 13, 2020

James “Jes” Staley ’79 P’11, a member of Bowdoin’s Board of Trustees and the CEO of Barclays, is under investigation by British authorities for his relationship with the late sex offender and financier Jeffrey Epstein, according to a statement released Thursday morning by the bank.

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), a regulatory organization based in the United Kingdom, is investigating how Staley characterized his relationship with Epstein to Barclays before his appointment to CEO in 2015, and how the bank subsequently reported the relationship to British regulators. The investigation began last year.

Little Black Book Contact information for James "Jes" Staley '79 P'11, including six different phone numbers, appeared in Jeffrey Epstein's "black book."

During his 30-year tenure at J.P. Morgan, Staley managed Epstein’s finances between 2000 and 2013, even after an internal investigation recommended that the bank drop Epstein as a client. Staley’s name and contact information appeared in Epstein’s now-infamous “black book” of personal and professional contacts. The entry for Staley listed his work address, home address, email address and six different phone numbers, including one for his residence in Southampton, N.Y.. Epstein also named Staley as a reference in a 2014 application for a bank license in the Virgin Islands, according to a recent report by the New York Times.

In 2018, Staley was reprimanded and fined by FCA for investigating a whistleblower complaint at Barclays.

In an email to the Orient, Senior Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs Scott Hood wrote that Staley will stay on as a member of the Board.

“The Board of Trustees takes seriously any questions about the character and judgment of its members. Last fall, the Governance Committee of the Board conducted a thorough review of the situation and the timeline. The full board was engaged throughout this process and had a thorough discussion when the Governance Committee concluded its work. Following that discussion, the Board agreed with the Governance Committee’s unanimous recommendation that there was nothing in Jes Staley’s actions or behavior that warranted the Board taking any action,” Hood wrote. “If any new information comes to light as a result of the Financial Conduct Authority investigation, the Board will consider it at that time.”


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  1. Deirdre Oakley says:

    I saw this on CNN yesterday. I didn’t really know the guy. He was a senior when I was a freshman. But it seems like it would be in Bowdoin’s best interest to ask him to resign from the Board. I’m sure he’s done some good work on the Board and donated a significant amount of money to his alma mater but his association with Epstein is a real liability among other things.
    Deirdre Oakley class of 1982

  2. Recent Alum says:

    Unbelievable that the college has done nothing to reprimand Staley considering that they will reprimand students for just about anything and label it “conduct unbecoming of a Bowdoin student.” The college is right to wait for the facts to come out before taking any action regarding Staley, but I know from personal experience and the experience of several other students that a police citation (not a conviction, or even a charge) will result in a college reprimand or social probation. It appears as if the college has one standard for students, and another for millionaire donors. Unfortunate for an institution that loves so much to publicly tout its commitment to “equality” and “the common good.”

  3. Wm. Viets says:

    Nice move to reprint the man’s home address. Seems really unnecessary unless the goal here is trial by Twitter.

  4. Class of 2019 says:

    Until more information emerges, I do not think there are grounds to remove Mr Staley from the Board. All he is guilty of is having Epstein as a client when he worked at JPM Chase. Until the last two years, the extent of Epstein’s criminality was hardly known. Is it objectionable to provide financial services to someone who was convicted of a crime? I see it as similar to providing an ex-con with legal services; some may choose not to do it, but it’s not wrong to do so.

    Mr Staley’s relationship with Epstein does not strike me as personal, beyond the social meetings requisite to a high net worth business relationship.

    Articles such as this one suggest that Mr Staley engaged in sinister behavior. There is not a lick of evidence that is true. The boards of both Bowdoin College and Barclays PLC have fully backed him. This investigation is about Staley’s disclosure of information to British officials. There is no credible accusation of any wrongdoing at this time. Furthermore, sources indicate that Mr Staley is prepared to give the FBI all the information he has about Epstein to help the victims get compensation.

  5. Alison McConnell '04 says:

    Thank you for following this story and linking to the NYT piece about the estate transaction.

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