BOE Appoints Lawyer Grabiner to Lead Internal Currency Probe

The Bank of England hired lawyer Anthony Grabiner, who headed an independent probe into phone hacking at News Corp., to lead an investigation into the central bank’s links to the currency-manipulation scandal.

Grabiner, a member of the U.K. Parliament’s upper House of Lords, is a veteran lawyer who has represented Liverpool Football Club and hedge fund GLG Partners Inc. He was named by New York-based News Corp. in 2011 to oversee a probe into its British newspapers after the fallout from the phone-hacking scandal led it to shut its News of the World tabloid.

The investigation will examine whether any BOE staff were involved in manipulation of foreign-exchange benchmarks or aware of any such action, the central bank’s Oversight Committee said in a statement today. The review will cover the period July 2005 to December 2013.

The appointment comes a day after Governor Mark Carney told lawmakers the bank stood by its decision to suspend a member of staff after suspicions of rate rigging weren’t escalated. Minutes of central bank meetings with traders released last week showed BOE officials knew of concerns on manipulation as early as July 2006. Carney said there was no evidence of collusion in market manipulation by any staff.

“The Oversight Committee believes that it is essential that matters raised by the bank’s initial review should be thoroughly and independently examined and that the bank’s executive should act on any lessons learned,” said David Lees, chairman of the BOE’s Court of Directors.

Deferred Publication

The committee said Grabiner’s probe will focus on matters related to the Financial Conduct Authority’s investigation into trading on the foreign-exchange market. While the results will be published, they will be delayed until the FCA’s investigation is complete.

It said that based on the outcome, it “may request recommendations to improve processes and procedures within the bank.”

Carney said yesterday the central bank had already revised some policies, including ways for staff to escalate concerns, record keeping and whistleblowing. The BOE reviewed its practices after it was dragged into the scandal of fixing the London Interbank Offered Rate. The BOE will also appoint a new deputy governor for banking and markets.

The Oversight Committee has already hired Travers Smith LLP as external legal advisers and it said today the firm will support Grabiner’s investigation.

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