Criminal prosecutors from the US Department of Justice have flown to London in order to interview several UK-based currency traders “on the periphery” of the FX Fix probe, according to the Financial Times.
The DoJ has invited a number of individuals to attend voluntary interviews in London around the alleged rigging of foreign exchange rates at the WMR 4pm Fix. These interviews are to be conducted jointly with the UK Financial Conduct Authority.
This suggests that the two authorities are now working closer together. When approached by Profit & Loss, a spokesperson for the FCA declined to comment on ongoing or potential investigations, adding: “We do work closely with the DoJ and other relevant regulators on a wide range of issues.” The DoJ had not responded at the time of going to press.
However, the way in which interviews are conducted highlights the difference between the two jurisdictions. While the FCA could compel people to answer its questions and not remain silent, the US Constitution allows individuals to remain silent under oath – plead the Fifth Amendment – in order to avoid self-incrimination. Therefore, if UK authorities gathered evidence under “compelled” conditions, the US prosecutors may not be able to use this evidence when prosecuting a case against these individuals.
At least 11 regulators and prosecutors have joined the worldwide FX inquiry, including authorities in Australia, Switzerland and Hong Kong. To date, more than 30 people across nine banks have been suspended or sacked from their roles.