UK financial watchdog hopes to complete forex probe by 2015

LONDON, July 17 Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:29am EDT

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LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) - Britain's financial watchdog said on Thursday it hoped to complete an investigation into allegations of manipulation in currency markets next year, while warning that the complexity of the inquiry made timings unpredictable.

"That is certainly our target," said the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) Chief Executive Martin Wheatley told reporters after the regulator's first annual public meeting since it was created last April.

"But I do know that these things are very complicated and with Libor, it has taken a number of years, so even 2015 would be a relatively short time-scale given the difficulties and complexities of these cases," he said, referring to a previous investigation into the alleged rigging of benchmark interest rates.

Regulators in the United States, Asia and Europe are looking into possible manipulation of foreign exchange benchmarks, used to price trillions of dollars worth of investments and deals and relied upon by companies, investors and central banks.

David Green, the head of Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO), said last month that it had received data in relation to the probe.

The fact that the SFO has been sent material about the investigation into the $5.3 trillion-a-day forex market could mean the FCA has found possible evidence of criminal wrongdoing during its examinations, lawyers said at the time. (Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; Editing by Pravin Char)

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