Saudi Prince Linked to Barclays Probe

The Financial Times reports:

A prominent member of the Saudi royal family is at the heart of a US criminal probe into whether Barclays made improper payments in the kingdom, with investigators scrutinizing two separate incidents linked to a son of King Abdullah.

The US Department of Justice is investigating two transactions, probing whether Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz – a wing commander in the Saudi air force who was recently made deputy governor of the capital city of Riyadh – was paid illicit fees by Barclays, according to six people familiar with the investigation.

One of the allegation is related to the award of a Saudi banking license from the CMA, the local regulator, in 2009. Barclays said in a statement that it had appointed Prince Turki, “acting through his corporate entity, Al Obayya, to advise it on strategic issues in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as well as on its CMA license application”. Al Obayya said the prince was a minority shareholder and held no executive role with the company, denying being party to any “improper conduct” according to a statement quoted by FT.