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Santander hires law firm to investigate bankers' strip club visit

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Santander bank branch in Guernica

By Jesús Aguado

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish bank Santander hired a law firm to investigate a whistleblower report saying a group of bankers visited a strip club after a day of company meetings and pressured younger colleagues to join them, a source close to the matter said.

The incident took place in February after the bank's global debt capital markets team held meetings at the lender's UK headquarters, the source told Reuters.

News of the investigation was first reported by the Financial Times on Monday.

A Santander spokesperson said the bank takes "all concerns about employee conduct extremely seriously" and follows a "rigorous process" to ensure the facts are established and "appropriate action is taken as necessary".

The spokesperson added that the details were being treated "confidentially", so the bank could not comment further.

Concerns had been raised with the bank's compliance department by an internal whistleblower, the FT reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Santander responded by hiring U.S. law firm Gibson Dunn to conduct an internal investigation over the summer, Reuters' source said.

The law firm interviewed several people involved in the night out and concluded there had not been explicit pressure exerted on junior staff members, the source added.

The Financial Times reported that no one has been dismissed as yet, but one manager has been disciplined.

A Gibson Dunn representative was not immediately available for comment and the UK's Financial Conduct Authority said it is unable to comment on individual cases.

(Reporting by Jesús Aguado; Additional reporting by Iain Withers in London and Tom Sims in Frankfurt; Editing by Sinead Cruise and David Goodman)