The American boss of one of Britain’s top banks will have his pay slashed after he admitted trying to unmask a whistleblower.
Barclays said in a statement that CEO Jes Staley tried to identify the author of a letter that the bank was treating as an attempt to report wrongdoing.
Following an investigation by the Barclays ( board and an external law firm, the bank said it had concluded that Staley had “honestly, but mistakenly believed that it was permissible to identify the author of the letter.” )
“It will therefore be issuing a formal written reprimand to Mr. Staley and has decided that a very significant compensation adjustment will be made to Mr. Staley’s variable compensation award,” it said in the statement.
Staley’s total pay came to £4.2 million ($5.2 million) in 2016, including bonus, benefits and pension payments. According to the bank’s annual report, he could have made more than £7 million in 2017, including bonuses.
Just how much Staley loses will be determined once U.K. financial regulators have concluded an investigation into his behavior and the bank’s approach to dealing with whistleblowers.
Staley, a banker with more than 30 years experience at JP Morgan (, said he had apologized to Barclays. )
The bank gave no details about the nature of the whistleblower’s allegations but said it had accepted Staley’s explanation that he was “trying to protect a colleague who had experienced personal difficulties in the past from what he believed to be an unfair attack.”
Barclays said it would not comment further while the regulators continued their investigation. Its shares were off by as much as 1% in early London trading.
Staley became CEO in December 2015, succeeding Antony Jenkins who had spent three years trying to overhaul Barclays following the departure of his predecessor, Bob Diamond, in the wake of a major interest rate rigging scandal that cost the bank billions in fines.
But the bank is still struggling to shake off the legacy of past misconduct. In December, it was accused by a U.S. prosecutor of defrauding investors who bought mortgage securities from the bank before they blew up during the financial crisis.
Earlier last year, Barclays agreed to pay tens of millions of dollars to settle charges that their so called “dark pool” trading platforms gave unfair advantage to high-speed traders who used them.
And in late 2015, Barclays was slapped with a record U.K. fine for trying to keep a huge deal with super rich clients in 2011-2012 so secret it bought a new safe just to store the documents.
The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority said the bank trashed its own rules on making background checks on clients and the origin of their cash, and whether they figured on international sanctions lists.
Barclays was also one of five banks fined in 2015 for trying to rig foreign currency markets in their favor.
CNNMoney (London) First published April 10, 2017: 3:50 AM ET