Darling gives FSA powers to grant immunity

Chancellor Alistair Darling is increasing the Financial Services Authority’s ability to bargain with informants who provide details of criminal activity.

The new powers will allow the regulator to offer immunity to informants in exchange for information.

The change will increase the FSA’s ability to investigate crime by raising it to specified prosecutor status.

The privilege is already held by tax officials, the director of public prosecution and the Serious Fraud Office, and is part of a plan to increase the power of the FSA to deal with a “period of uncertainty.”

Darling says the regulator needs the capacity to act when financial crime is evident.

He adds: “I can’t allow us to get into a situation where people quite deliberately manipulate markets for personal gain and with the potential to destabilise the financial system.

“We have a duty to ensure we have clean and efficient markets. We will come down hard on people manipulating the system.”