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Regulatory Sanctions

Justice Department Enters the Barclays Whistleblower Scandal

April 12, 2017

[Photo: by Rex Features / The]


With each passing day, new facts and circumstances come to light about the Barclays whistleblower scandal. And, we learned that the Justice Department has commenced an investigation, alongside the U.K.’s FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and the NYSDFS (New York State Department of Financial Services). The DOJ is specifically looking into whether anyone at Barclays Bank or the U.S. Postal Service may have violated the whistleblower protection provisions of Dodd-Frank.


The NYPost, which cites statements made by the bank on Monday, reports that this latest investigation was touched off by the fact that Barclays, at Staley’s request, sought help from Postal inspectors after its board received 2 letters from an anonymous employee. That employee complained about the hiring of a mid-level executive - who, it turns out, is Tim Main. Staley had asked the bank’s internal security team in June to find out who sent 2 letters to the board that were critical of the hiring of Tim Main to run Barclays’ financial institutions group. The anonymous letters raised issues about “Staley’s knowledge of and role in dealing with” personal issues at Main’s previous employer, “and the appropriateness of the recruitment process followed on this occasion by Barclays.” Main had previously worked for New York investment bank Evercore.


Apparently, Staley’s request in July for the bank’s security team to try to learn the ID of the letter writer was his second attempt to unmask the whistleblower. The CEO had asked first in June - but was rebuffed. At some point, those internal security personnel reached out to unnamed officials at the USPS in order to track where the letters had originated.


What's particularly troubling about these latest developments is that the case is now dealing potential criminal charges, in addition to the usual civil charges. For example, it’s possible that anyone in the U.S. government who aided the bank in unmasking the whistleblower could face criminal charges, according to Jordan Thomas of Labaton Sucharaow law.