Supporting People who Speak Out

Judge Raps Barclays Compliance Chief Over Whistleblower E-Mail

The head of compliance at Barclays, Daniel Hodge, has been criticized by a judge for forwarding an e-mail to senior staff at the bank from a whistleblowing worker, saying the act was “inappropriate” and “a surprise.”

Barclays is still under scrutiny after CEO Jes Staley was fined 642,430 British Pounds (USD $836,705) by UK regulators in May for trying to uncover the identity of a different whistleblower, also in 2016.

The e-mail cited by the judge in an employment tribunal judgment was sent by Jeetesh Patel, a member of Barclays’ capital markets execution team, who expressed worry over transactions involving the bank’s Luxembourg arm that could have been aiding tax evasion, said Financial Times.

Patel was moved to the bank’s retail banking division. He claimed at the tribunal that his career had been hurt by blowing the whistle and he was being retaliated against. At the time of the incident, Hodge was Group Treasurer of Barclays.

The judge said that since the bank’s whistleblowing procedures were designed to protect confidentiality, Hodge’s decision to send the e-mail to others “failed to set a good example for junior staff”. Adding that Hodge was probably “taken by surprise… and responded quickly without reference to the whistleblowing policy.” He noted the compliance team had found Hodge’s action “unhelpful” but not a breach of policy.

Patel lost his claim with the judge ruling his career had not been affected by his whistleblowing, nor by Hodge’s decision.

In April 2018, Hodge was appointed Chief Compliance Officer for Barclays International, responsible for monitoring the behavior of staff across the investment bank.

Staley has also been criticized, by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, for “serious errors of judgment” for attempting to unmask a whistleblower and discover their identity, but the CEO kept his job.

The regulators said that Barclays would be subjected to “special requirements by which it must report annually detailing how it handles whistleblowing,” even though Staley kept his job and Patel lost his case against the bank.