Jes Staley — the former CEO of Barclays who resigned last week following an investigation into his ties to late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein — reportedly exchanged some 1,200 emails with the perverted moneyman over a four-year period.
Some of those emails included mysterious terms such as “snow white” that have yet to be explained, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the correspondence between Staley and Epstein. Epstein killed himself in 2019.
The volume of correspondence and the unexplained references shed new light on the nature of the relationship between Staley and Epstein.
The emails, according to the Financial Times, were sent between 2008 and 2012, during which time Staley rose from head of JPMorgan Chase’s asset-management unit to CEO of the investment banking division. Staley did not become CEO of Barclays until 2015.
Many of the messages in the tranche of emails were matter-of-fact, the report said.
The two discussed news articles in some and arranged to meet for drinks in others — but taken together, the messages reveal a close relationship between the two men, the FT said, citing people familiar with the contents.
UK Regulators, including the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority, have been investigating the correspondence and have highlighted certain unexplained terms that raise eyebrows, according to the report.
For example, the two reference “snow white” in a short, two-message exchange referring to a conversation the men already had in person, the FT reported, citing one of the people familiar with the matter.
The regulators haven’t yet determined the significance of the phrase, a source told the FT.
Kathleen Harris, a lawyer for Staley, said in a statement to the FT that all the emails were innocuous.
“We wish to make it expressly clear that our client had no involvement in any of the alleged crimes committed by Mr. Epstein, and codewords were never used by Mr. Staley in any communications with Mr. Epstein, ever,” she said.
Staley previously said he “deeply regrets” his friendship with the pedophile, whom he first met in 2000 when he took charge of JP Morgan’s private banking division and when Epstein was “already a client” in New York.
The two got close enough that in 2009, Staley visited Epstein while he was serving a prison sentence in Florida for procuring a child for prostitution and soliciting a prostitute, according to the FT.
Staley has previously said the relationship began to taper off after he left JPMorgan in 2013.
But in 2015, just a few months before joining Barclays, Staley reportedly sailed to Epstein’s private Caribbean island.
Staley also previously let Epstein mentor one of his daughters when she was applying to college, according to the FT.
The cache of emails were first given to US regulators by JPMorgan, the FT reported, and the UK regulators began investigating Staley’s relationship to Epstein after they received the cache in 2019, people familiar with the matter told the FT. JPMorgan declined to comment to the FT.
Barclays had previously claimed that the relationship between the two was strictly professional, and regulators were concerned that the cache of messages contradicted that claim, the report said.
Barclays, with the help of law firm Clifford Chance, investigated the emails for two months, according to the FT, and at one point, Staley considered resigning but was persuaded to stay.
Barclays eventually resolved to stick by Staley, saying in February 2020 that he had the board’s “full confidence.”
But the investigation by the FCA continued. While the findings have not yet been made public, Staley agreed to resign last week, the FT reported, after the bank learned of the investigation’s conclusions and Staley’s intention to contest them.