Photo: Daily Mail
The SEC is looking into whether banks including Citi, and private equity firms including Blackstone, broke bribery laws in their transactions with sovereign-wealth funds.The SEC sent letters demanding answers to at least 10 firms in the past week, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The letters asked about dealings with sovereign-wealth funds and also asked the firms to keep certain documents, possibly so that the SEC could review them later.
The important thing to remember is that banks and PE targets weren’t accused of bribery outright. They are apparently part of a wider investigation of Wall Street and whether their normal practice violates the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
At the moment there’s no confirmed focus of the probe but generally when FCPA inquiries are conducted, the involve “bribes paid to foreign-government officials or employees of state-owned companies to gain a business advantage,” says the WSJ. Those bribes can take the form of cash, entertainment and travel.