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SFO will investigate Libor fixing

The Serious Fraud Office has confirmed that it will launch an investgation into the scandal of banks fixing the Libor interest rate.

SFO will investigate Libor fixing

In a 17-word statement the SFO said that its director David Green had 'decided to formally accept the Libor matter for investigation'.

This follows reports that the agency, which has had its budget slashed, will get new resources from the chancellor George Osborne to pursue a criminal investigation.

Last week, when the scandal broke and fines of £290 million were imposed on Barclays, the SFO said it would decide in a month whether to press criminal charges.

'The issues are complex and the assessment of the evidence the Financial Services Authority has gathered will take a short time, but we hope to come to a conclusion within a month,' the SFO said at the time.

Today's move indicates how politically charged the affair has become. Yesterday Osborne clashed with Ed Balls, his opposite number on the Labour front bench, over his allegation that Labour had been involved in a cover-up to keep inter-bank lending rates low. Balls, who was family minister at the time but who had been an aide of Gordon Brown, denied the allegation.

Last year the SFO's former director Richard Alderman decided not to open a Libor investigation, saying he did not have the resources do to the job and that it might overlap with work by the Financial Services Authority and the Office of Fair Trading.

The agency has been been criticised for its lack of success in winning big fraud cases. Its reputation was harmed by a botched investigation into property developers the Tchenguiz brothers.

Any prosecution would be brought under the Fraud Act 2006, under which individuals can be jailed for up to 10 years. However, the investigation is bound to be long and complex, involving other banks in addition to Barclays, whose chief executive Bob Diamond and chief operating officer Jerry del Missier have resigned in the fallout from the fines.

7 comments so far. Why not have your say?


Jul 06, 2012 at 16:30

Squeaky bum times for the Banks, BoE and probably some in Government!

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Rob Walker

Jul 06, 2012 at 16:51

Nothing like a proactive Serious Fraud team eh? If they really thought fraud was involved you might assume they would have got in there amongst it over 6 months ago (isn't that what we pay our taxes for?). However, if it is just a bit of Political Bear-baiting, then the SFO will do what their masters tell them, when they tell 'em.

Oh, and hurry up chaps, flush all those e-mails down the toilet, Mr Plod is on his way!

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David Rowse

Jul 06, 2012 at 18:02

Never read of the Serious Fraud Squad being serious about very much at all - who are these guys and do they ever do anything?

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Jul 06, 2012 at 19:45

I guess if the fall guys go down for trial (that is the mid-level operatives) then some real beans may be split. In which case it is more than possible that every member of the board, right to the very top, might find themselves on a charge.

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Graham D-C

Jul 07, 2012 at 09:27

The SFO should not only be looking for the immediaie culprits involved in the LIBOR scandal but also those guilty wherever and as far back as the trail leads.

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Jul 07, 2012 at 13:19

Sounds like another phone hacking situation to me.All bluster but no action.Politically driven to make themselves look good.Hope Yates isn`t in charge just like he was with the phone scandal when he achieved what,absolutely nothing.

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Rose G

Jul 09, 2012 at 10:26

More bullshit, if you ask me - they have failed to bring cases to courts because they do not really have the power to do much other than posture - it seems Hollywood is missing out on all these star bullshiters, who make some noise and then go home to forget about any and all of it.

None of these regulators/investigators have the power to do anything at all - they report their findings, if any, and nothing can be done about it all, as we know, the contracts signed by the parties means no one is accountable, so, back to square one, and back to carrying on, with very little changed.

The SFO if it were to be taken seriously, should have a bigger budget, but guess what, most of this budget would towards paying the men at the top very lucrative packages, just like those whom they are supposed to investigate.

In any event, if those employed by the SFO are anything like our policing institutions, I would not hold my breath about justice being done - they are not employed to do a decent job, but to keep everything at bay for years, and when the focus is elsewhere, just fade quietly into the background.

It is all about rhetoric to make the news headline today, come tomorrow, other skeletons will be found, and a new story to focus on.

We would be wise to keep our own council and not believe that any one of these organisations will actually do the job they are being paid for - after all, the bankers involved in the various banking scams seem to be protected from normal events, why should they do any investigating, when nothing will come of it.

Right now, we have judges & other undertaking numerous public inquiries, many of which will be shelved until light is shed on how much it is costing the taxpayer, but have we actually addressed the problems they are supposed to investigate?

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