Britain’s Serious Fraud Office will launch a criminal investigation into the foreign exchange markets at leading British banks.
The Serious Fraud Office, an “independent government department,” will investigate possible manipulation of the of the country’s $3 trillion-a-day foreign exchange markets, according to a report from the The Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times.
The reports indicate that Serious Fraud Office investigators will look into the activity of individual traders who may have personally benefited by manipulating foreign exchange markets and prices.
Some traders are believed to have communicated with one another using online chatrooms, with such names as “the Cartel,” “Bandits Club,” and “The Dream Team,” according to the Telegraph report.
Forty percent of the world’s foreign currency exchange is done through the London markets.
The SFO’s criminal inquiry follows an investigation by the UK’s principal financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority. The FCA launched an investigation into global currency markets in October, 2013.
The British inquiry mirrors those conducted in other European countries and the United States.
Last week, CitiBank was fined $7 billion for its role in contributing to the financial crisis in 2008-09.
CitiBank’s fine followed that of J.P Morgan Chase, fined $13 billion last November.