November 7, 2017 / 1:53 PM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 1-SocGen investigated over possible French anti-corruption law breach

* Preliminary probe opened by French prosecutor

* Requests documents on ties with Libyan Investment Authority (Updates with prosecutor’s office comment)

By Maya Nikolaeva and Sophie Louet

PARIS, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Societe Generale said the French financial prosecutor had opened a preliminary investigation into possible violations by the bank of French anti-corruption laws, and had requested documents on its ties with the Libyan Investment Authority.

Earlier this year Societe Generale agreed to pay nearly 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) to settle a long-running dispute with the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), avoiding a costly and potentially embarrassing court case.

LIA, Libya’s sovereign wealth fund, had presented allegations that trades were secured as part of a “fraudulent and corrupt scheme” involving the payment of $58.5 million by SocGen to a Panama-registered company.

The bank said in an update to its 2016 annual report, published on Monday, that in September and October 2017 it had received judicial requests from the French financial prosecutor.

“Societe Generale also received two judicial requests to produce documents regarding its relations with the LIA in the scope of a preliminary investigation opened by the French National Financial Prosecutor’s office regarding possible violations of French anti-corruption laws,” it said.

A spokesman for SocGen declined to comment further on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office confirmed that a preliminary probe was opened on Nov. 18, 2016 with regards to Societe Generale and its ties with the LIA, but declined to give further details.

SocGen is also in discussions with U.S. authorities to try to reach an agreement to resolve an investigation into potential violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, in connection with certain transactions involving Libyan counterparties, including the LIA.

“Any such agreement would include a requirement that Societe Generale pay a monetary fine and may in addition impose other sanctions,” the bank said in the update, adding that it was impossible to determine with certainty the amount of the fine.

“It is possible, without it being certain, that the pending discussions lead to an agreement in the next weeks or months”.

The bank had 2.2 billion euros in litigation provisions at the end of September.

$1 = 0.8650 euros Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva, Sudip Kar-Gupta and Sophie Louet; Editing by Susan Fenton and Adrian Croft

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