in its international network.

The nation's largest banking company said it had agreed to acquire 19% of Nikko Beans Inc., a Tokyo-based firm that provides financial services over the Internet.

With the investment, Citigroup becomes the second-largest shareholder in Nikko Beans. The Japanese brokerage Nikko Securities Co., which formed a joint venture with Citigroup's Salomon Smith Barney last year, is the largest shareholder.

Nikko Beans started operations Oct. 1, providing brokerage, investment trust, and insurance products to Japanese investors.

Separately, Citigroup's Citibank unit said it had received approval from U.S. and Israeli authorities to open a full-service branch in Jerusalem. Ron Braverman, country officer for Citigroup in Israel, said that he expects to see strong initial demand for global financial services such as cash management and treasury activities.

Citibank has been in Israel since February 1996, when it opened a representative office. Salomon Smith Barney also serves Israeli investment banking clients out of Tel Aviv and other international locations.

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