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World U.K. Trader Probe Halted After Judge Questions FCA Priorities

14:13  24 february  2021
14:13  24 february  2021 Source:   bloomberg.com

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(Bloomberg) -- The U.K.’s investigation into a trader involved in controversial Cum-Ex transactions was stopped in its tracks after a London judge questioned the regulator’s apparent lack of commitment to probing the European tax scandal.

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the Canary Wharf business district in London, U.K. © Bloomberg Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the Canary Wharf business district in London, U.K.

The Financial Conduct Authority was ordered to pause its probe until 2022, after a separate court decides on a case brought by Danish tax authorities against former hedge-fund manager Sanjay Shah.

The investigations into the Cum-Ex scandal were not “one of the FCA’s high priorities,” Judge Jonathan Swift said Wednesday.

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The case into the accused man, who can’t be identified, has been open since at least 2015 and was among the U.K. agency’s most advanced. The FCA is looking at 14 firms and six individuals who operated dividend-stripping schemes in Denmark, Germany, France and Italy.

Denmark’s tax agency is suing Shah and his associates in London, in a bid to recoup 1.5 billion pounds it says it was defrauded out of. The mammoth trial -- expected to be the longest in High Court history, is being split into three parts, with the so-called “Validity trial” set to start in October.

The FCA said in a statement it will seek permission to appeal.

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