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Barclays CEO fined $870K for trying to ID whistle-blower

May 11 (UPI) — Barclays Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley was fined $870,557 by British regulators for trying to unmask an anonymous whistle-blower.

The fine was announced last month but the amount was not revealed until Friday.

According to the investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority, Staley asked Barclays’ internal security chief to try and identify the person or persons behind anonymous letters sent in 2016 to company board members with concerns about Staley’s hiring and recruitment process.

“The role of a CEO is an important one, and includes setting an example to the firm’s employees, and communicating to them the Board’s expectations in relation to the firm’s culture, values and behaviors,” the FCA said in a final notice about the matter.

The FCA said it is critical that individuals who wish to raise concerns feel able to speak up anonymously and without fear of retaliation.

“Mr Staley’s actions fell short of the standard of due skill, care and diligence expected of a CEO in a regulated firm,” the letter read.

A joint statemen from the FCA and PRA said Barclays will now be subject to special requirements to report annually to regulators detailing how it handles whistle-blowing.

“Protection for whistleblowers is an essential part of keeping the financial system safe and sound. Mr Staley’s behavior fell below the standard we require, resulting in today’s fine and public censure,” said PRA CEO Sam Woods.

An investigation by Barclays found Staley “honestly, but mistakenly, believed” his actions were permitted. The CEO had agreed to settle at an early stage of the investigation, qualifying for a 30 percent reduction to the combined FCA and PRA fine.

Despite the fine being the third-biggest ever imposed by the FCA on an individual, some say the punishment amounts to a slap on the wrist for the CEO, who was paid a total compensation package of about $5.2 million in 2017.

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