Citi Says U.S. Regulators Are Investigating Its Foreign Hiring Practices

  • Focus is on employing people with ties to government officials
  • The investigation involves the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Citigroup Inc. said U.S. authorities including the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating the bank’s hiring of employees with ties to foreign government officials.

The lender is cooperating with the probes, New York-based Citigroup said Friday in an annual regulatory filing. The requests involve the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it a crime to pay or give other benefits to a foreign government official.

Banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have disclosed similar investigations. The probes sparked a debate across Wall Street over whether U.S. business standards should be applied in foreign countries and if doing favors for influential officials is illegal.

In November, JPMorgan agreed to pay about $264 million to settle U.S. allegations that it hired children of Chinese decision-makers to win business in violation of anti-bribery laws. JPMorgan engaged in the activity, which it called the Sons and Daughters Program, from 2006 to at least 2012, U.S. authorities said.

Mark Costiglio, a Citigroup spokesman, declined to elaborate on Friday’s disclosure.

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