A legal battle looms as Barclays drags its feet at the behest of US prosecutors: when will the bank allow lawyers to see its ex-boss’s messages to Epstein?
Silent: We revealed the questions to ex-Barclays chief Jes Staley a fortnight ago
Barclays is facing a legal battle over information it has on the relationship between its former boss and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
U.S. prosecutors are suing the bank for all correspondence between Jes Staley and Epstein it has – as well as details of the bank’s own investigation into the couple’s relationship.
Lawyers working for the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein had a Caribbean retreat, want the information in a civil case against the estate of the deceased sex offender. All insured damages will be used to fund compensation claims for the dozens of Epstein victims.
Barclays has so far refused to provide the information, although Denise George, Attorney General for the US Virgin Islands, has asked him for the information in New York and has informally approached Barclays in London.
Now The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the bank faces the prospect of a Royal Courts of Justice hearing to respond to George’s claim.
She is looking for a court date with a little-known division of the royal courts that deals with requests for evidence from foreign powers.
George is seeking information from Staley as he acted as Epstein’s private banker while working for JPMorgan between 2000 and 2013. It is believed that Staley may have vital information about Epstein’s finances.
The Department of Health revealed earlier this month that the U.S. Virgin Islands had also requested information directly from Staley – and even asked if he had received a “massage” on Epstein’s estate.
Young women were regularly coerced by Epstein into performing sexual acts in his massage room.
Staley may avoid responding to the legal demand, also known as a summons, if it has not been served on him in person. The subpoena for Staley was filed in a court in the U.S. Virgin Islands in October 2020. But a source close to Barclays said Staley has yet to receive the legal request.
Staley could be served with the subpoena if he repatriates to the United States after leaving Barclays. He resigned as chief executive to challenge claims by UK regulators that he downplayed his relationship with Epstein.
Barclays is responsible for the cost of Staley’s relocation. Staley’s bank and personal representatives declined to confirm his whereabouts this weekend. George sought help from the UK courts after being disappointed by requests for information from the courts in New York.
However, the U.S. Virgin Islands must wait several months before getting a hearing date. Sources told the Defense Ministry that prosecutors may have to launch an intense lobbying effort to secure a hearing. Lawyers working for the U.S. territory may have to harass officials and court officials to set a date, the sources said.
The court will appoint an examiner to oversee the proceedings if the U.S. Virgin Islands is successful in securing a court date. Any eventual hearing could also be videotaped.
Lawyers have said Barclays may be able to resist the transmission of information even if there is a hearing. Barclays has the right to protect all communication with the Company or with outside lawyers. His internal investigation into Staley’s ties to Epstein was conducted by law firm Clifford Chance. The bank may also be able to write e-mails and investigation reports.
The US Virgin Islands have stressed the importance of obtaining the documents quickly in their application to the royal courts of justice. Deputy Chief Attorney General Carol Thomas-Jacobs has written to the Principal Petty Officer of the Strand in London to tell him the documents must arrive “on a sufficiently expeditious date” to meet the deadline for discovery of the case. The request was approved by Senior US Judge Kathleen Mackay.
George has launched a civil action against Epstein’s estate seeking damages for breaking laws against human trafficking, child abuse and sexual abuse. She requested documents relating to a series of explosive charges against Barclays. She is also trying to determine whether Epstein pressured Barclays bankers to put Staley in the top position and wants details of any meeting between the two men.
Prosecutors are also asking for all documents relating to the account of Epstein’s associate Ghislaine Maxwell, who is due to stand trial on sexual abuse charges this month.
Maxwell had an account until last February. George wants to understand all of the transactions going through the account, all of the communications between the Barclays and Maxwell bankers, and the details of all of the bank’s investigations into Maxwell.
A Barclays spokesperson said: “Barclays will respond to this summons once it is served.”
A spokesperson for Jes Staley said: “Mr Staley intends to challenge the initial findings of the FCA and PRA investigation. He will not make any further public statements at this point.