Serious Fraud Office launches investigations into UK banks

Serious Fraud Office launches investigations into UK banks


The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has revealed that it is currently investigating a number of banks based in the UK to find out whether complex financial products were fraudulently mis-sold before the financial crisis hit. 

Three institutions that have been named are, perhaps unsurprisingly, the London offices of Bernard Madoff’s investment business, which was uncovered to be a £50 billion Ponzi scheme last year, collapsed hedge fund Weavering Capital and the UK office of insurer AIG, which has been bailed out by US authorities.


The SFO are planning to investigate the use of highly structured products like credit default swaps and collateralised debt obligations, otherwise known as CDOs, which are pools of differently rated securities.


It is thought that the failure to value, and even understand, these products was one of the main reasons behind the failure of many institutions in the near-collapse of the global banking system last year.


A spokesman for the SFO confirmed that it would be working with police and FSA regulators in the investigation: “We are looking at places where failures have occurred in the past, but we want to use the information we get proactively to see what is going on now.”


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