(CNN) — Barclays and a Saudi prince are at the center of a U.S. Department of Justice probe into whether the U.K. bank made improper payments in the middle east kingdom.
The DOJ is investigating whether Barclays paid illicit fees to Prince Turki Bin Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, through his corporate entity, Al Obayya.
The federal agency informed Barclays that it had commenced an investigation to see if it had violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in October 2012, a spokeswoman for the bank confirmed. U.S. federal law prohibits companies from paying bribes to foreign political figures for the purpose of obtaining business.
Barclays said the the investigation will examine its relationships with third parties who help the bank get and retain business.
Barclays said it had appointed the prince, through Al Obayya, to "advise it on strategic issues in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," but said it is not aware of any improper payments made. In a statement, Barclays said it is is fully co-operating with the investigation.
The DOJ and Al Obayya did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
interesting pieces of architecture worth some Facebook bragging.
The Yuasa area is stocked with historic attractions.
Founded in 1841, Kadocho is one of the area's oldest soy sauce factories. It still uses the same huge tub it always has to brew soy sauce. It also has an exhibition hall across the street with the original tools used to brew soy sauce.
During Yuasa's annual Andon (paper lantern) Festival, the streets of town are lighted with paper lanterns; the Andon Gallery is an ode to the Japanese paper lantern.
Formerly a public bathhouse dating to the Edo period, Jinburo has displays documenting life in ancient Yuasa.
Renovated cafes in Edo-period machiya (traditional wooden houses) and a 113-year-old sushi restaurant, Nihonryori Yokogusu, offer visitors a way to check out the interiors of Yuasa's old structures.
More on CNN: How to eat sushi
Getting there and around
To get to Yuasa, take the JR Line to Yuasa station, 40 minutes from Wakayama City Station and 80 minutes from Osaka's Kansai Airport.
Yuasa's main pedestrian zone is about a 15-minute walk from Yuasa JR station or five minutes by bike.
Free loaner bikes and maps can be found at the information center across from the Yuasa train station, behind the taxi stop.
Some museums and shops are closed on Sunday.
Yuasa Information Center, 1077-6 Yuasa, Yuasa-cho; +81 0737 63 4123; open daily, except December 29-January 3; 9 a.m.-5 p.m.