Barclays Bank has confirmed it is the subject of an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.
In a statement the bank said the SFO was investigating “payments under certain commercial agreements between Barclays and Qatar Holding LLC.”
The Telegraph reports the investigation relates to “payments made to Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund at the time of its investment in the bank four years ago.”
In June the bank was fined £290m by U.K. and U.S. regulators for trying to rig the LIBOR interest rate in its favour. At the time the U.K. Financial Services Authority said: “Barclays’ misconduct was serious, widespread and extended over a number of years.”
As of May 2012 the scheme cost Londoners £145m in construction and operational overheads, with a further £80m in additional expenditure expected between 2013/14 and 2015/16.
The total figure of £225m is more than 4 times the maximum £50m due under the Mayor’s sponsorship deal with Barclays which runs until 2018.
Transport for London refuses to publish the contract with the bank but it is understood the sponsorship sum is payable in instalments over a period of years.
Despite providing just a fraction of the scheme’s funding, Barclays enjoys huge PR benefits from its association with the scheme including sole naming rights and brand placement on TfL’s website.
In the wake of the LIBOR scandal the Mayor and TfL faced calls to reform their approach to sponsorship deals.
However Johnson has continued to defend the bank’s association with the scheme, insisting their involvement had ”saved taxpayers £50m”.
TfL recently revealed it had no idea when the scheme would break even.