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Tuesday 6 December 2016

UK Serious Fraud Office probe cash trail

The Serious Fraud Office says it is actively assessing "material in its possession" relating to FIFA corruption allegations revealed by the FBI this week.

It comes after bank accounts at Barclays, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank were allegedly used to transfer cash as part of the conspiracy.

The three British-based international banks were named on the indictment released by the US Department of Justice, which charged a total of 18 people over alleged bribes totalling more than $150 million US dollars (£98 million) for television rights, sponsorship deals and World Cup votes.

A spokeswoman for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in London said: "The SFO continues actively to assess material in its possession and has made plain that it stands ready to assist ongoing international criminal investigations."

The SFO would not comment on what the material is or when it first came to its attention. Payments totalling millions of US dollars allegedly passed through accounts held with the three banks, with the majority of transactions made in America.

A payment for $500,000 dollars (£326,000) reached the HSBC account of a luxury yacht manufacturer in London in 2013, while one million US dollars was funnelled through a HSBC account in Hong Kong and a Standard Chartered Bank account in New York before ending up in the Cayman Islands in 2012, the charges said. Some $200,000 US dollars (£131,000) were also wired between two Barclays accounts in New York and the Cayman Islands.

Standard Chartered Bank said: "We are aware that two payments cleared by Standard Chartered are mentioned in the indictment. We are looking into those payments and will not be commenting further at this time."

Barclays declined to comment.

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