(Reuters) - Prosecutors from the U.S. Department of Justice are offering immunity deals to junior traders in London as they continue to investigate the alleged rigging of foreign exchange rates by banks and senior traders, the Financial Times reported, citing sources.
Justice Department staff have flown to Britain in recent weeks to interview foreign exchange traders and offer them partial immunity, or "proffer agreements", in exchange for information about superiors, the FT said, citing people familiar with the situation. (http://on.ft.com/1zzu1s4)
The deals allow individuals to give authorities information about crimes with some assurances that they will be protected against prosecution, as long as they do not lie.
A senior lawyer said the DOJ probe was "well-advanced", the FT reported. However, it quoted another lawyer saying that most of the traders the DOJ had approached had so far declined the immunity deals.
The DOJ did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment outside of regular business hours.
Sources told Reuters in April that the DOJ and Britain's Financial Conduct Authority were interviewing London traders in connection with the investigation into the largely unregulated $5.3 trillion-a-day forex market.
Several banks, including Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Barclays Plc (BARC.L), BNP Paribas SA (BNPP.PA), Citigroup Inc (C.N) and Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.VX), have been accused of using chat rooms, instant messages and emails to share client information and manipulate daily currency benchmarks.
(Reporting by Richa Naidu in Bangalore)