October 22, 2018 / 12:18 PM / a month ago

Ex-CEO of Banque Saudi Fransi exits Saudi after travel ban ends

DUBAI, Oct 22 (Reuters) - The former chief executive of Banque Saudi Fransi has left Saudi Arabia after the lifting of a travel ban imposed in the wake of an investigation into alleged misuse of a staff bonus scheme, say sources familiar with the matter.

Patrice Couvegnes, a French national, was placed under a travel ban linked to an investigation of alleged irregularities that emerged last year in an employee incentive programme at the kingdom’s fifth-largest bank by assets.

That ban was lifted in the last few weeks and Couvegnes had exited the country and returned to France, the sources said.

Couvegnes was dismissed by BSF in November in coordination with the central bank and other regulatory bodies after six years at the lender.

The central bank said at the time that BSF, 16.2 percent owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding, might be fined over irregularities in an employee incentive programme, and had committed violations related to governance and supervisory regulations. BSF accepted that there had been irregularities in the bonus scheme that led to such violations.

Couvegnes could not be reached for comment. The central bank did not respond to requests for comment. Banque Saudi Fransi declined to comment.

His departure from the bank followed that of two other executives, Mohamad Abdulhadi, senior executive director, and Abdulrahman Mutabagani, head of business banking, with sources saying at the time that the trio’s exit was linked to the investigation into the staff incentive scheme.

Reuters was unable to verify whether the investigation was still continuing.

Before joining BSF, Couvegnes worked at Credit Agricole in Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong, according to his website.

After selling roughly half its stake in BSF to Kingdom Holding last year, Credit Agricole holds about 15 percent in BSF, according to Refinitiv data. (Reporting By Tom Arnold; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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