Barclays under DoJ investigation over alleged improper payments

Barclays is being investigated by US authorities into whether the lender made improper payments to secure a banking licence in Saudi Arabia, according to reports.

The bank disclosed last week that it was co-operating with an investigation by the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Financial Times featured a report on Friday that said officials at the Department of Justice were examining how the UK bank got a licence to run investment banking and wealth management operations in the Gulf country in 2009 .

The bank last week disclosed it was cooperating with an investigation by the DoJ and the Securities and Exchange Commission into whether it breached the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

The FCPA empowers US authorities to levy heavy fines and potentially prosecute individuals if corruption had been perpetrated by a company with strong ties to the US.

The bank is already under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office in the UK over payment of fees in 2008 to Qatar's sovereign wealth fund as it raised capital at the height of the financial crisis.