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Whistleblower immunity.

CITY whistleblowers could soon be offered immunity from prosecution under plans to beef up the UK's financial watchdog, Chancellor Alistair Darling has indicated.

The Government was urged to grant the Financial Services Authority US-style powers after last week's slump in a bank's share price amid claims of market manipulation.

A London hedge fund was reported to have circulated rumours about UK companies, including Hbos, in an attempt to profit when their share prices fell. Amid global turmoil, Mr Darling said he wanted a crackdown and that meant the authorities needed the tools to do the job.

"I can't allow us to get into a situation where people quite deliberately manipulate markets for personal gain and with the potential to de stabilise the financial system."

FSA investigators are expected to be given "specified prosecutor" status enjoyed by tax officials, the Serious Fraud Office and the Director of Public Prosecutions.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 29, 2008
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