News Column

Financial Conduct Authority gathers information from global fraud probe

June 6, 2014

Kirstin Ridley; Kirstin Ridley

Britain's anti-fraud agency is examining information from a global investigation into the possible manipulation of currency markets, in the first sign it might follow the United States in launching a criminal investigation.

Britain is keen to be at the forefront of a global inquiry into the $5 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market, partly because about 40 per cent of it is based in London. Britain's finance industry watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), began its own probe into currency markets last year.

"The SFO (Serious Fraud Office) is receiving and examining complex data on this topic," David Green, SFO head said. The US Department of Justice launched a criminal inquiry last October. But the SFO tends to be late when it comes to global investigations, partly because of a tight annual budget.

Nevertheless, in a parallel global inquiry into whether traders manipulated Libor benchmark interest rates, the agency has now charged 12 individuals -- more than the eight charged in the United States -- and is the only prosecutor to have brought defendants to court.

The fact that material linked to the currency investigation has landed on the SFO's desk could mean the FCA watchdog has now found possible evidence of criminal wrongdoing and passed this on, some lawyers said, although agencies might also just be keeping each other abreast of more general developments.

"This happens when the regulators believe three things: the matter is really serious, there is sufficient public interest or political pressure to justify major budgetary commitment and there seems to be enough evidence to convince a jury to the high 'beyond reasonable doubt' test rather than the lower 'more likely than not' standard that a regulator is allowed to use," Simon Morris of law firm CMS Cameron McKenna, said.

For more stories on investments and markets, please see HispanicBusiness' Finance Channel

Source: Herald, The (Scotland)

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters