Image source, Getty Images

Barclays chief executive Jes Staley has stepped down following an investigation into how he described his links with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The UK financial watchdog and the Bank of England have been investigating Mr Staley's links to the dead financier.

Barclays said it had been made aware of the conclusions of that probe on Friday and that Mr Staley would contest them.

The bank said it and Mr Staley decided he should stand down but Barclays said it was "disappointed at this outcome".

Barclays added: "It should be noted that the investigation makes no findings that Mr Staley saw, or was aware of, any of Mr Epstein's alleged crimes, which was the central question underpinning Barclays' support for Mr Staley following the arrest of Mr Epstein in the summer of 2019."

It added that the regulatory process had still to run its full course and it was not appropriate for Barclays to comment further on the preliminary conclusions.

Mr Staley was formerly at JP Morgan, where in 2000 he developed a relationship with Epstein, who was a client of the US investment bank.

Epstein was convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor in 2008.

Mr Staley admitted he maintained contact with Epstein, who died in a New York prison cell in 2019, for seven years after his conviction.

Image source, ReutersImage caption, Jeffrey Epstein died in a New York prison cell in 2019

Mr Staley will receive 12 months pay, totalling £2.4m, as well as his pension allowance of £120,000 for the year, and any other benefits.

Last year, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority announced an investigation into Mr Staley's "characterisation to the company of his relationship" with Epstein.

Barclays said that following Epstein's death in 2019, Mr Staley had "volunteered and gave to certain executives, and the chairman, an explanation of his relationship with Mr Epstein".

Mr Staley will be replaced as chief executive by Mr C.S. Venkatakrishnan, known as Venkat, subject to regulatory approval.

The board said Venkat had been identified as its preferred candidate for the role over a year ago.