DUBAI/JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia Nov 17 Barclays
did not make any "illegal payment" to win a banking
license in Saudi Arabia, the bank said in a statement in
response to a newspaper report last week that said U.S.
authorities were looking at whether improper payments were made.
The Financial Times had reported on Nov. 10 that the United
States Department of Justice (DoJ) was investigating whether
Barclays made any improper payments to win a banking license in
Saudi Arabia to operate a wealth-management arm and investment
bank, citing people familiar with the investigation.
"The board of directors of Barclays Saudi Arabia and its
executive management takes the issue raised by the media very
seriously," the bank said on Saturday.
"Barclays Saudi Arabia confirms that it did not make any
illegal payment to the CMA (Capital Markets Authority) or any of
its officials regarding the granting of Saudi license."
"Barclays SA will continue to conduct business in the
kingdom in accordance with the highest professional standards
and is fully committed to the development of Saudi Arabia's
financial market," the bank said.
Barclays was licensed to start business in Saudi Arabia in
August 2009 and given final approval to begin securities trading
in May 2010 after the Saudi regulator said the bank had met all
The CMA said last week that it was not aware of any
investigations and had not received any inquiries from
regulatory bodies on the issue.
Barclays is facing a series of investigations into its
business, including one by Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO)
and Financial Services Authority which are scrutinising payments
made by Barclays to Qatar as part of a 2008 fundraising.
The bank has come under scrutiny regarding manipulation of
benchmark interest rate Libor and could face fines over an
investigation into the manipulation of power prices the United
Barclays Saudi Arabia is a closed joint stock company
regulated by the CMA.