Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority on Sunday it granted Barclays the license to operate in the kingdom according to official rules and after making sure the Bank had met all necessary conditions and requirements.
In a statement obtained by Al Arabiya, the authority said Barclays Bank was given the license in August 2009 and the final green light to begin operations in May 2010.
The statement came after U.S. authorities opened a probe into Barclay’s allegedly improper payment to gain banking license in Saudi Arabia.
According to sources, U.S. prosecutors are skeptical on how the bank managed to win a license to operate its wealth-management and investment banking services in the Kingdom in 2009.
The Saudi Capital Market Authority said it has no information about the U.S. probe and that it was not contacted by any party regarding the license given to Barclays.
Barclays, headquartered in London, provides services in personal banking, credit cards, corporate banking, wealth management and investment banking and was also one of the western banks to enter the region after the Saudi Capital Market Authority began to unscrew tight access of foreign companies to the country.
The on-going investigation aims to dig deeper over issues whether payments made have breached the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
The FCPA, passed in 1977, serves the sole purpose of making it unlawful for certain classes of persons and entities with direct links to the U.S. to make payments or hand bribery to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining businesses.
The DoJ has been granted powers to prosecute violators if investigation findings confirm that payment was made to gain license in behalf of a company with direct links to the U.S.
Last week, the financial institution faced a series of fines admitting that it has been handed by U.S. regulators a penalty worth $35 million and a restitution of $35 million in proceeds for allegedly inappropriate trading, added the report.
The bank was also under criminal investigation for allegedly manipulating Libor, the London Interbank Offered Rate, but have settled allegations in June by paying a fine amounting to $29 million.
The SFO recently handed the London-based bank with a “section two notice,” requiring the bank to submit official papers and provide witnesses, sources said.
The bank said that it is cooperating with on-going U.S. FCPA investigations but refused to give further details, the Financial Times reported.