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Barclays fined $15m over whistleblowing breach

Barclays has been fined $15m (£11.9m) by US regulators after attempts were made to unmask a whistleblower by chief executive Jes Staley.

In 2016, a Barclays employee sent two letters regarding concerns over the chief executive’s decision to hire a former colleague to work at the bank.

The whistleblower posed questions both over the experience and the qualifications of the incoming executive.

The New York State Department of Financial Services has found that these should have been sent to the bank’s investigations and whistleblower team and treated as an official whistleblower complaint, the BBC reports, but were in fact circulated to senior staff including Staley.

The investigation found that Barclays had violated both local banking rules and its own procedures in the case, where Staley attempted to use Barclays’ security team to uncover who wrote the “false and malicious” letters.

Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo said: “Whistleblowers are vital to uncovering and addressing intentional wrongdoing.

“The DFS’s thorough investigation uncovered actions at the top that exposed the bank to risk and created an atmosphere in which employees might doubt that it was safe to escalate issues of concern to the bank.”

“Several members of senior management failed to follow or apply whistle-blowing policies and procedures in a manner that protected the chief executive and the bank itself.”

The fine for Barclays follows a £640,000 fine for Staley in the UK.

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