Jes Staley, the boss of the investment bank Barclays, is being probed by UK regulators over his links to the wealthy financier and sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein died by suicide in jail in 2019 while awaiting trial on charges of sex-trafficking underage girls.

The investigation was launched after emails between the two men emerged and were handed to the UK regulators.

“The relationship between Mr Staley and Mr Epstein was the subject of an enquiry from the Financial Conduct Authority, to which the company responded”, Barclays said, adding that the FCA launched an investigation into how Staley had characterized the relationship to Barclays, and how the bank then described it to regulators.

On Thursday, Staley told reporters that he had a “professional relationship” with Epstein going back to 2000, when he was the head of JPMorgan’s private bank, of which Epstein was a client.

Media reported that Staley, managed Epstein’s finances between 2000 and 2013, even after an internal investigation at JP Morgan’s recommended that the bank drop Epstein as a client.

Staley said that he had told the board that he had no contact with Epstein since he joined Barclays in 2015. Their email exchanges suggest they stayed in close touch for seven years after Epstein was convicted in 2008. Staley visited him while he was serving time in Florida. In 2015, Staley and his wife sailed their boat to Epstein’s private island. The same month, Staley was named chief executive of Barclays.

“He was already a client. The relationship was maintained during my time at JPMorgan, but as I left Morgan it tapered off quite significantly. Obviously, I thought I knew him well and I didn’t. And for sure with hindsight of what we all know now I deeply regret having had any relationship with Jeffrey Epstein”, Staley said.

“Mr Staley retains the full confidence of the board, and is being unanimously recommended for re-election at the annual general meeting”, Barclays said.