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Significant mandates: Freshfields acts for the Bank of England as SFO investigates money-market auctions

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is representing the Bank of England (BoE) as the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) launches an investigation regarding money-market auctions which the bank carried out during the financial crisis.

The SFO confirmed in a statement that the investigation relates to material concerning the bank’s ‘liquidity auctions during the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008’ and comes after the BoE referred material to it in November 2014 following an independent inquiry conducted by Lord Grabiner QC of One Essex Court. SFO director David Green QC then accepted the case for investigation in December 2014.

Freshfields’ disputes partner Ian Taylor will represent the BoE – one of the firm’s oldest clients since the Magic Circle firm first set up shop in London. Freshfields has acted for the bank in numerous key mandates in recent years including the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) fixing scandal in 2012.

The firm’s relationship was further strengthened when Freshfields veteran M&A partner Graham Nicholson left the firm back in January 2009 to become the bank’s chief legal adviser, although Nicholson is now set to retire from that role at the end of April 2015.

Freshfields declined to comment while the BoE said in a statement: ‘Given the SFO investigation is ongoing, it is not appropriate for the bank to provide any additional comment on the matter at this time.’