US, UK investigators probing Barclays' Jes Staley over attempts to unmask whistleblower

US and UK investigators are probing Barclays Plc chief executive Jes Staley over his actions in seeking to unmask a whistleblower who criticised his hiring of a longtime associate for a top job. According to the London bank its internal investigation into the matter was ongoing.

Staley's actions in trying to identify the source of an anonymous letter that criticised the hiring of Tim Main, who was named in 2016 as head of the financial institutions group at Barclays, were under the scanner, according to people with knowledge of the events, Market Watch reported. The letter also called into question Staley's dealings with Main when they worked together at JP Morgan Chase & Co.

The UK's Prudential Regulation Authority and Financial Conduct Authority were probing both Staley and the bank over its treatment of whistleblowers, Barclays said in a statement. The bank added that it had issued a formal reprimand to Staley and would make a "significant" cut to his bonus.

The New York State Department of Financial Services, which regulated Barclays in the US, was also investigating the matter, according to people familiar with the probe, Market Watch reported.

"I have apologised to the Barclays board, and accepted its conclusion that my personal actions in this matter were errors on my part," Staley said in a statement.

Staley had been formally reprimanded by the board and he might need to claw back his entire 1.3 million-pound ($1.6 million) bonus of last year. According to commentators, even as Staley had secured the unanimous backing of the board for now, he still faced a UK regulatory investigation that could find him unfit to run a bank.

According to commentators, the development comes as a setback for a chief who had been seeking to repair a culture at a bank where misconduct charges wiped out over £20 billion pounds of profit over six years.

''They did try and circulate this idea there was a cultural rejuvenation and this is definitely a backward step,'' said Eric Moore, who helps to oversee about £2.9 billion of assets at Miton Group Plc, including Barclays shares. ''He'll definitely be on the naughty step for a while.''