THE The Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which is responsible for investigating and prosecuting serious and complex fraud cases, will consider whether traders benefited from the manipulation of benchmark Forex prices.
The investigation, which was confirmed yesterday, will look into allegations of "fraudulent conduct", said the SFO.
It raises the spectre of jail sentences for those found guilty while the banks they worked for, including
Several investment banks, including RBS,
While RBS was not commenting on the development, the bank's chief executive
In total, banks around the world have paid out more than pound(s)3.8 billion in fines relating to the affair.
RBS also set aside pound(s)3.1bn to cover the cost of compensating clients sold payment protection insurance they did not need.
"Unfortunately it has the hallmarks," he said. "We are still doing a lot of investigation. We are going through millions and millions of e-mails, chatrooms, conversations to see what actually went wrong, if anything, in this area.Unfortunately, I have the feeling this is a sort of Libor case again. The difference this time is we have not sat back and denied it. We have gone into it and are doing the investigation hand- in-hand with the authorities."
The criminal inquiry into alleged currency markets rigging in
In February, RBS suspended a third senior City currency trader over a global investigation into allegations of exchange rate rigging.
The inquiry into online communications between traders and allegations of manipulating benchmark currency rates, also known as "fixings", has seen more than 20 traders at many of the world's biggest banks put on leave, suspended or fired.
Regulators have been looking into whether currency traders shared information about their positions and knowledge of client orders through instant messages to rig the foreign exchange market in their favour.
Benchmark currency fixings are a cornerstone of global financial markets, used to price trillions of dollars of investments and deals and relied upon by companies, investors and central banks.
RBS has lurched from crisis to crisis since its collapse in 2008, when it was bailed out by the
Since 2008, it has shed thousands of jobs and a programme of branch closures is continuing. While 60 of its branches closed last year, it announced in April it was selling 300. Overall, it has about 1900 branches and has warned it is "inevitable" more will go.
Earlier this year, a pound(s)5bn cost-cutting plan was unveiled. The bank employs almost 120,000 people, including 12,000 in
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which is responsible for investigating and prosecuting serious and complex fraud cases, will consider whether traders benefited from the manipulation of benchmark Forex prices.