| LONDON, June 13
LONDON, June 13 Britain's finance minister
George Osborne this week rejected European Union plans to
outlaw currency market manipulation and instead set out his own
proposals to make rigging exchange rates a criminal offence.
A panel led by the Bank of England and including the
Treasury and Financial Conduct Authority will recommend new
criminal sanctions which meet the needs of London, where much of
the largely unregulated FX market takes place.
Osborne's announcement comes as regulators around the world
investigate allegations of collusion and price-manipulation in
the $5-trillion-a-day market, by far the world's largest.
Since the allegations first surfaced last year, some 40
traders have been placed on leave, suspended or fired by some of
the world's biggest banks.
No individual or bank has been accused of wrongdoing and no
evidence of wrongdoing has been found. All the banks involved
are cooperating with the regulators.
Below is a timeline on the scandal engulfing the FX market.
July 2006: Minutes of a meeting of the BoE's FX Joint
Standing Committee's chief dealer sub-group say the group,
chaired by BoE chief dealer Martin Mallett, discussed "evidence
of attempts to move the market around popular fixing times by
players that had no particular interest in that fix. It was
noted that 'fixing business' generally was becoming increasingly
fraught due to this behaviour".
Spring 2008: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York makes
enquiries into concerns surrounding benchmark Libor interest
rates, sharing its analysis and suggestions for reforms with
"the relevant authorities in the UK".
May 2008: Minutes of a meeting of the BoE's FX Joint
Standing Committee's chief dealers sub-group say there was
"considerable discussion" on the benchmark "fixings" again.
July 2008: A meeting of the BoE's FX Joint Standing
Committee's chief dealers sub-group discusses the suggestion
"that using a snapshot of the market may be problematic as it
could be subject to manipulation," BoE minutes say.
April 2012: As the Libor scandal reaches its zenith, the
regular chief FX dealers' meeting included a "brief discussion
on extra levels of compliance that many bank trading desks were
subject to when managing client risks around the main set piece
benchmark fixings," BoE minutes say.
June 2013: Bloomberg News reports dealers used electronic
chatrooms to share client order information to manipulate
benchmark exchange rates at the 4:00 p.m. London "fixing".
July 2013: A scheduled chief dealers' meeting for 4 July
never takes place.
Sept. 2013: Swiss bank UBS provides the U.S.
Department of Justice with information on FX allegations in the
hope of gaining antitrust immunity if charged with wrongdoing.
Oct 2013: The investigation goes global. The DOJ, Britain's
Financial Conduct Authority and Bank of England and
Switzerland's market regulator all open probes. The Hong Kong
Monetary Authority says it is cooperating.
Dec 2013: Several banks, including JP Morgan Chase,
Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank ban traders
from multi-dealer electronic chatrooms.
Jan 2014: U.S. regulators visit Citi's main offices in
London. Citi fires chief dealer Rohan Ramchandani, a member of
the BoE-chaired chief dealers' sub-group and the first trader in
the unfolding scandal to be sacked.
Feb 4, 2014: Martin Wheatley, chief executive the FCA,
Britain's market regulator, says the FX allegations are "every
bit as bad" as those in Libor. He also says the FCA's
investigation will probably run into next year.
Feb 5, 2014: New York's banking regulator opens its
Feb 14, 2014: The Financial Stability Board, the world's top
financial regulator which coordinates policy for the G20, says
it will review FX fixings.
March 5, 2014: The Bank of England suspends an employee as
part of its internal investigation.
March 11, 2014: The Bank of England announces a shake-up of
the way it works with banks and financial markets, creating a
new position of deputy governor responsible for banking and
March 31, 2014: Swiss competition commission WEKO formally
opens investigation into eight Swiss, UK and U.S. banks
including Citi, RBS, JP Morgan, UBS and Credit Suisse AG
over potential collusion to manipulate foreign
June 12, 2014: UK finance minister George Osborne rejects EU
plans to outlaw FX market manipulation and instead sets out his
own rules - "as strong or stronger than those of the EU" - to
make rigging exchange rates a criminal offence.
(Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Gareth Jones)