Traders being investigated by U.K. regulators for the suspected rigging of global interest rates are unlikely to face criminal charges while their firms may suffer record fines, people with knowledge of the probe said.
Britain’s Financial Services Authority is scrutinizing evidence of attempted market abuse as well as failures in banks’ systems and controls, which carry civil penalties, said the people, who declined to be identified because the inquiry is private. To file criminal charges in England, the regulator would need to show traders successfully manipulated the rate.
One trader interviewed was warned to expect a fine or lifetime ban from working in the industry if found guilty of attempting to influence the rate, according to his lawyer who declined to be identified. Three other lawyers involved in the case said they are concerned U.S. authorities may seek to extradite British traders if they file criminal charges, and the FSA hasn’t raised the issue with them. They all declined to be identified because the talks are private.