Jes Staley, the chief executive of Barclays, has been summoned for a second interview by regulators probing his efforts to unmask a whistleblower.
Sky News has learnt that Mr Staley was questioned last week by officials from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), following an earlier interview in July.
The reasons for the second meeting with the Barclays chief were unclear on Friday, but City sources described it as “highly unusual” for a subsequent interview to be required.
News of the intensifying inquiry into the Barclays’ chief comes five months after his efforts to unmask a whistleblower triggered yet another damaging investigation into the bank.
:: The central allegation against the bank
The two watchdogs hope to conclude their investigations later this year, and their determination of any sanctions will be closely scrutinised as a test of the new City regime for holding top executives to account.
Mr Staley’s quest to identify the whistleblower – for which he has apologised – has raised renewed questions about Barclays’ commitment to an overhaul of its culture and behaviour after a tumultuous decade.
Mr Staley’s initial interview took place within weeks of four former Barclays executives – including ex-boss John Varley – being charged by the Serious Fraud Office in relation to its multi-billion-pound rescue fundraisings in 2008.
Image: Barclays is facing criminal charges over actions taken during the financial crisis
The whistleblowing probe is focused on both Mr Staley and his responsibilities under the Senior Managers’ Regime introduced after the financial crisis; and Barclays’ systems and controls, and its culture relating to whistleblowing practices.
Mr Staley has hailed the bank’s recent financial results as evidence that a turnaround of the bank is bearing fruit despite the reporting of a statutory loss.
A letter to the board of Barclays last year prompted Mr Staley to seek to identify its author, contravening rules designed to protect whistleblowers’ anonymity.
Despite being told that it was inappropriate to pursue the matter, Mr Staley returned to it several weeks later, when he “honestly, but mistakenly, believed that it was permissible to identify the author of the letter”, according to a statement made by Barclays in April.
A US law enforcement agency was called in to assist with the search, although it ultimately proved unsuccessful.
Barclays said in the spring that its response to the scandal “should be proportionate to its serious nature”, announcing that it would issue a formal written reprimand to its chief executive and reduce his variable pay “very significantly”.
Opinions are divided among Barclays’ leading investors about whether Mr Staley can survive the scandal given the wider questions it raises about the protections afforded to whistleblowers.
Barclays and the FCA declined to comment.
Source: SKY News