Bloomberg reports that the U.K. Serious Fraud Office opened a criminal investigation this month after Barclays was fined a record $450m by U.K. and U.S. authorities. Politicians including U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labour Party, called for a criminal probe, and the agency was told it would be given a budget to take on the case.
The SFO had declined to get involved in the investigation for more than a year, despite briefings with the U.K. Financial Services Authority and a compilation of findings from U.S. enforcement agents. The U.S. evidence was provided as early as late last year, according to a person familiar with the case who wasn’t authorized to discuss it.
'It’s partly the difference in culture', said Andrew Haynes, a law professor at the University of Wolverhampton in England. 'In America, economic crime is something that’s regarded as desperately serious. In this country it is regarded as a problem, but there’s sometimes a slothful response'.
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