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Watchdogs to fine Barclays boss over whistleblower

UK financial regulators plan to fine Barclays chief executive Jes Staley over attempts to uncover the author of an anonymous letter.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) opened an investigation in 2017 looking at Mr Staley’s alleged attempt to unmask an employee who wrote a letter raising concerns about the recruitment of a senior employee.

According to Barclays, regulators have found Mr Staley’s actions represented a breach of individual conduct rules that relates to a “requirement to act with due skill, care and, diligence”.

“Each have proposed that he pay a financial penalty,” Barclays said.

“The FCA and PRA are not alleging that he acted with a lack of integrity or that he lacks fitness and propriety to continue to perform his role as Group Chief Executive Officer.”

Mr Staley, who had asked the bank’s security team to identify the author of the letter, has time to challenge the draft decision. He has previously apologised for his “mistake”.

Barclays said it “continues to have unanimous confidence in Mr Staley” and will decide “what adjustment” to make to his pay once the FCA and PRA processes have been concluded.

A decision by regulators to fine or censure Mr Staley would be unprecedented.

City regulators have never before fined or censured any serving chief executive of a major bank.

However, in 2012 Tidjane Thiam, chief executive of insurance giant Prudential, was censured by the FCA’s predecessor, the Financial Services Authority.

The FSA said Prudential had failed to inform it at the appropriate time that it was seeking to buy AIA. Mr. Thiam is currently the chief executive of Credit Suisse.

Braclays plans to report its first-quarter results next week and holds a shareholder meeting next month, where investors may bring up the issue again.

US regulators are still investigating the matter.

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Last month, Barclays agreed a $ 2bn (£1.4bn) settlement with the US Department of Justice over claims that it mis-sold mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the financial crisis.

The fine was far less than many investors had expected.

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