Fraud squad eyes foreign exchange fiddling investigation as Libor accused head for court

Tim Wallace
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FOREIGN exchange traders are facing a criminal probe as the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is set to open an investigation into the market, it emerged yesterday.

Dozens of bank traders have been suspended or fired in relation to firms’ internal investigations into the market.

The claims centre around allegations that traders would manipulate the flow of trades and so the price of currencies around a crucial moment when a fix is calculated.

That fix is used to process a large volume of orders, and so a small change in the value can create large losses or profits for traders.

A probe could be opened in the coming days, according to the Sunday Times.

“We are receiving and examining complex data on this topic,” an SFO spokesperson told City A.M.

“If and when we open a criminal investigation, that decision will be announced in the usual way.”

The forex probes at the SFO and the City watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) came about as a result of the investigations into key interest rate benchmark Libor.

Six of those accused of conspiracy to defraud over alleged attempts to manipulate Libor – Peter Johnson, Stylianos Contogoulas, Jonathan Mathew, Alex Pabon, Jay Merchant and Ryan Reich – are scheduled to appear in Southwark Crown Court today.

The direction hearing is expected to discuss a date for their trials to begin.

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