SFO Gets Blank Check from Chancellor Osborne
Just days after the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) completed settlements with some of the biggest US banks over foreign-exchange market manipulation allegations, the United Kingdom (UK) is already taking steps to initiate the next phase of the investigation. On Friday, November 14, 2014, George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Second Lord of the Treasury, sent a letter to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) urging the agency to pursue all criminal wrongdoings at the “highest level.”
Chancellor Osborne said that the “Treasury will provide the required funding” for the investigation. In essence, Chancellor Osborne provided the SFO with a blank check to pursue further investigations into individual traders involved in the foreign-exchange manipulations. The Treasury and SFO appear to be ramping up the investigation, to what his being called a “blockbuster case.” The announcement should signal to the financial institutions involved in the recent settlements and their individual traders that last week’s developments are merely the beginning of a lengthier investigation into all improper and illegal behavior conducted within the foreign-exchange markets.