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Barclays faces fresh watchdog probe
Barclays has admitted it is embroiled in a fresh investigation by City regulators
The onslaught against Barclays' reputation shows no signs of easing as the scandal-hit lender revealed it is embroiled in a fresh investigation by City regulators.
Barclays, still reeling from the rate-rigging affair, admitted four past and present senior staff including current group finance director Chris Lucas are being investigated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) over fees paid under deals made in 2008.
The watchdog is understood to be looking at whether disclosure of payments to advisers was sufficient when it raised more than £5 billion of emergency capital from Middle Eastern investors at the height of the financial crisis.
Reporting its half-year results, the bank once again apologised for the Libor-fixing scandal and revealed a potential £450 million bill for mis-selling complex financial products to unwitting small businesses.
However, stripping out the provision and other charges, the bank reported a 13% rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £4.2 billion in the six months to June 30, sending its shares 7% higher.
Ian Gordon, analyst at brokers Investec, said the better-than-expected results were "one in the eye for Barclays' many enemies and detractors". The lender also revealed a 7% jump in staff pay to £5.2 billion, including a 21% rise in deferred bonuses, as staff numbers fell by more than 1% to 139,000.
The latest inquiry into Barclays' business practices is reportedly related to funds raised from investors in Qatar and Abu Dhabi which effectively allowed Barclays to avoid following in the footsteps of Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland in taking a bailout.
The bank and FSA would not comment further on the investigation but executive chairman Marcus Agius said the bank was "satisfied" it had given proper disclosure.
Barclays has endured one of the most turbulent periods in its history after it was fined £290 million by UK and US regulators for manipulating Libor, an interbank lending rate that affects mortgages and loans.
The affair led to the departure of chief executive Bob Diamond, triggered a fierce debate in Westminster over banking ethics and has spawned several closely-watched hearings before the Treasury Select Committee.
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