Allegations against former Barclays CEO Staley 'very serious' - CEO

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FILE PHOTO: Then-Barclays' CEO Jes Staley arrives at 10 Downing Street in London

By Lawrence White

LONDON (Reuters) - Allegations made against British bank Barclays' former CEO Jes Staley regarding his ties with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein are "very serious", the lender's current CEO C.S. Venkatakrishnan said on Thursday.

In a call with reporters after the lender's first quarter results were published, Venkat said he was not in a position to comment further on the allegations contained in U.S. court filings.

Venkat said the allegations were being adjudicated in New York, which he said was the "right and proper place".

Staley is being sued by his former employer JPMorgan for eight years of pay and to cover two lawsuits stemming from the bank's work with Epstein, who was a client of the private bank that Staley used to run.

One lawsuit was filed by women who accused the financier of sexual abuse. The other was filed by the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned a private island. Both seek money damages and neither lawsuit names Staley as a defendant.

In U.S. filings this week, Staley accused JPMorgan of using him as a "public relations shield" and said the allegations lacked legal or factual basis.

A former investor in the bank last week said the lender should have made more checks over the matter. Shareholder advisory group ISS stopped short of recommending investors oust board members, but said they should await the outcome of various investigations in the affair.

Venkat declined to comment on the vetting made by the board when asked by reporters on Thursday.

(Reporting by Lawrence White, writing by Iain Withers, Editing by Sinead Cruise and Hugh Lawson)