British finance minister outlines plans for whistleblower law

LONDON, March 28, 2008 (AFP) – Finance minister Alistair Darling outlined plans on Friday to equip Britain’s financial watchdog with powers to give individuals whistleblower protection in return for evidence in investigations. Darling’s proposals in an interview with The Guardian came just days after British bank Halifax Bank of Scotland was forced to deny market rumours that it faced liquidity problems when its shares slumped 17 percent at one point.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is to investigate and has said rumours about a handful of British financial institutions were “completely unfounded” and had sometimes been accompanied by short-selling.

“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,” Darling told The Guardian.

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

He continued: “People don’t tend to note down in minute detail what they are doing. People are getting away with it and the time has come for us to start looking at it again …

If a handful of people are up to no good we have to make s