Google Privacy, CFTC’s Softer Tack, Banking: Compliance

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Google Inc. will be told to apply the “right to be forgotten” to its websites beyond the European Union under rules being drafted by privacy regulators, according to two people familiar with the plan.

The decision by regulators meeting in Brussels will push the Mountain View, California-based company to apply privacy requests from EU residents to its primary Google.com site in the U.S., said the people, who requested anonymity because the plans aren’t public. Google may also be rebuked for “routinely” notifying media about story links it has removed, they said.

Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, the head of the group of EU regulators, is scheduled to present the guidelines in Brussels today, according to an e-mailed statement last week.

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said last month that the May ruling by the EU’s top court, in which it ordered search links tied to individuals cut when those people contend the material is irrelevant or outdated, didn’t need to be extended to the U.S. site. Google.com gets fewer than 5 percent of user searches in Europe, the European Commission has said.

The meetings of the EU regulators are ongoing, and some modifications may be made, according to the people. The decision would extend to links on Google sites outside the bloc that are still viewable in the EU.

The right-to-be-forgotten rules add to separate demands for curbs on Google’s market power being considered by lawmakers this week. EU antitrust regulators should weigh breaking up search engines if efforts to resolve an antitrust case fail, according to members of the European Parliament who will vote tomorrow on a resolution to rein in the company.

Al Verney, a spokesman for Google in Brussels, declined to comment on the privacy and antitrust matters.

Compliance Action

Australia Using Substantial Resources to Probe Benchmark Rigging

Australia’s financial markets regulator said it’s using “substantial resources” to probe whether banks tried to influence the nation’s benchmark interest rate.

Greg Medcraft, chairman of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, said today in a Bloomberg Television interview that the regulator is working with global watchdogs and that it’s essential that offenders are hit with heavy penalties.

Since mid-2012, ASIC has been investigating possible manipulation of the bank-bill swap rate, or BBSW, the local equivalent of the London interbank offered rate. The regulator said in March it is also conducting inquiries into the nation’s foreign exchange market amid international probes of alleged manipulation of benchmark currency rates.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. suspended seven traders last week following an internal review linked to ASIC’s BBSW probe.

In the past 12 months, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, BNP Paribas SA and UBS AG have each agreed to pay at least A$1 million ($854,500) in relation to potential misconduct involving BBSW.

The Australian Financial Markets Association shut the BBSW rate-setting panel last year and moved to a mechanism where the benchmark is compiled directly using prices from brokers and electronic markets.

Massad’s CFTC Pursues Softer Tone as Battles With Industry Fade

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, under the leadership of Chairman Timothy Massad, has pulled back from the five-year battle it fought with banks and other companies over regulation of the $700 trillion swaps market.

Since Massad, a former Treasury Department official, took the reins, the agency has eased Dodd-Frank Act rules for energy and agricultural firms and delayed an aggressive provision on the structuring of trades that’s been the focus of intense lobbying by Wall Street.

Banks are looking to add to those wins by limiting how much CFTC rules can be extended to overseas affiliates. Companies that sell oil, natural gas and wheat also are seeking a broad exemption from proposed limits on commodities speculation.

Massad has said he wants to make sure reforms designed to curb risk and increase transparency of the swaps markets aren’t triggering unintended consequences. While banks and traders should be given time to adjust to new rules, he said he has no intention of tearing up work the CFTC has done since 2010 to implement Dodd-Frank.

He declined to compare himself to his CFTC predecessors. Massad succeeded former Chairman Gary Gensler’s acting replacement in June.

Congress gave the CFTC authority over the largely unregulated swaps market after derivatives tied to mortgages triggered billions of dollars of losses for banks and spurred taxpayer bailouts in 2008.

Gensler declined to comment.

Comings and Goings

EU Lawmakers to Interview Coene, Koenig, Maystadt for SRB Chair

European Union lawmakers will interview three candidates today for the top job at the euro area’s planned Single Resolution Board, said Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, a Dutch member of the European Parliament.

The board will prepare and carry out resolution plans for banks in Europe’s Banking Union that are failing or likely to fail, according to a statement on the SRB website.

The assembly’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs will question the three candidates for SRB chair proposed on Nov. 19 by the European Commission: National Bank of Belgium Governor Luc Coene; Elke Koenig, the president of German financial regulator BaFin; and Philippe Maystadt, former head of the European Investment Bank.