After losing a series of high profile cases, the UK government has suffered yet another embarrassing failure in its efforts to hold white collar criminals accountable for financial fraud. But this time, instead of displaying a casual indifference toward crimes committed by the wealthy or an ineffectual prosecutorial strategy, the National Crime Agency (the UK’s equivalent of the FBI) has been tainted by allegations of corruption. The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the NCA is conducting an internal probe into allegations that one of its employees leaked information to members of a European insider trading ring that undermined its own probe – the latest black eye for the agency as it seeks to ramp up its prosecution of financial crimes.
The NCA’s internal corruption unit is looking into whether a government translator who had access to wiretap recordings tipped off the target of an investigation to try and disrupt the probe.
A spokesperson for the NCA, which was set up in 2013 to help bolster the government’s prosecution of financial crimes in the wake of the crisis, refused to confirm or deny whether the rumor was true. As we’ve noted in the recent past, the Financial Conduct Authority, one of the agencies tasked with bringing insider trading cases, has an abysmal record with putting criminals away. The FCA has opened 172 insider-trading cases since the 2014; only three have resulted in