HM Treasury has today announced that the Government is accepting the recommendations of the Wheatley Review of LIBOR in full. The Treasury’s press release is here and the ministerial statement is here (pdf). We covered the Wheatley recommendations in this post.
Section 397 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 will be extended to capture the making of misleading statements to manipulate benchmarks such as LIBOR. From the ministerial statement:
“The Government will bring forward amendments to the Financial Services Bill to implement those recommendations that require primary legislation. These amendments will enable the submission of rates to benchmarks such as LIBOR and the administration of such benchmarks to be brought within the scope of regulation. The power to regulate these activities will be vested in the new Financial Conduct Authority. Existing offences covering the making of misleading statements, under section 397 of the Financial Services and Markets Act, will be extended to capture the making of misleading statements to manipulate benchmarks such as LIBOR. The Financial Conduct Authority will have the lead role in investigating the possible commission of such offences and bringing prosecutions.
Most people expect that the law should be respected and enforced at all of levels of society. If someone breaks the law, they should be punished. Where the crime is serious, the punishment should reflect this. The Government also intends to legislate to enable the Financial Conduct Authority to make rules requiring authorised persons to contribute to the LIBOR setting process. Draft legislation and further details of these measures will be deposited in due course in the libraries of both Houses.”