Libya examining SocGen payments: report

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 05, 2011 11:04 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Officials working with Libya's new governing authority are looking at whether payments made by French bank Societe Generale -- as part of its business relationship with the Libyan Investment Authority -- ended up with people close to Muammar Gaddafi's regime, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The paper said that the bank paid an unspecified amount to a Panama-registered company, Leinada Inc., to help structure and advise a $1 billion investment vehicle in 2008.

The paper said that Leinada's exact role isn't clear, but it said that the company's involvement was criticized by some officials at Libya's sovereign-wealth fund.

SocGen was not immediately available for comment.

The Wall Street Journal said that the French bank declined to comment on its relationship with Leinada or on its ties to the Libyan Investment Authority, but said it "works occasionally with financial intermediaries in countries where does not have local teams in place."

Those middlemen are "fully reviewed through our compliance procedures in respect of the regulations and in complete transparency with the client," Societe Generale was cited as telling the paper.

The Wall Street Journal said SocGen said it "complies with all applicable rules and regulations" related to sovereign-wealth funds.

(Editing by Kim Coghill)