BARCLAYS’ boss Jes Staley will have his bonus slashed and will face an investigation by two financial watchdogs after unsuccessfully trying to unmask a whistleblower.
The multimillionaire will be probed over his reaction to anonymous letters sent to the bank’s board and an executive raising concerns about a new senior employee and Mr Staley’s role in that person’s recruitment.
After being given a copy of the first letter and being made aware of the second, Mr Staley asked the Barclays group information security team to identify the authors of the letters.
The bank said he considered them an “unfair personal attack” on the new employee. Nevertheless, the attempt to uncover the whistleblower’s identity was unsuccessful.
The board concluded that Mr Staley had “made an error” in becoming involved with the matter and in not following the rules.
Mr Staley has apologised to the board for “errors on [his] part.”
As well as undergoing investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, he will lose part of his bonus.
Labour MP John Mann, a member of the Commons Treasury committee, said the affair had been revealed to “deflect attention” from the Libor scandal, concerning banks’ fraudulent manipulation of a key interest rate.
He wrote on Twitter: “No coincidence this is realised now to deflect attention over even bigger Bank of England and Barclays Libor scandal.
“Implications of collusion between Bank of England and Barclays interest over Libor fixing are immense. No wonder media diversion under way.
“Bank minutes of 2008 need re-examining as part of a major fraud investigation.”
The Guardian reported that Mr Staley was in line for an annual bonus of £1.88 million, plus another payment of up to £2.82m on top of his annual fixed pay of a whopping £2.35m.
The bank is also commissioning independent reviews of its whistleblowing programme and other processes and controls.
Cathy James, chief executive of whistleblowing charity Public Concern at Work, said: “In a bizarre way, this is whistleblowing working.
“The board has become aware of inappropriate conduct at the highest level and has taken action — they have then made a public statement. This is a bold move, but it also shows that they want to mitigate against the damage done by the CEO’s actions.”