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London lawyer named to lead FX probe at Bank of England

A man travels in a double-decker bus as it passes the Bank of England in central London March 24, 2010. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
A man travels in a double-decker bus as it passes the Bank of England in central London March 24, 2010. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

LONDON (Reuters) - A top London lawyer who investigated phone hacking at News Corp's British newspapers will lead a probe into the role of Bank of England officials in the possible manipulation of foreign exchange rates.

The Bank of England said on Wednesday that the Oversight Committee of its governing body nominated lawyer Anthony Grabiner to lead the investigation into whether staff turned a blind eye to signs of manipulation in the $5.3 trillion-a-day global market, for which London is the main hub.

Grabiner is a London-based commercial lawyer who has been involved in high-profile litigation cases.

In 2011, he was appointed by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp to chair a committee to oversee compliance, ethics and government procedures at the newspapers at the center of Britain's phone hacking scandal.

The announcement comes a day after the BoE Governor Mark Carney faced hours of grilling from lawmakers, a large part which was dominated by the bank's response to allegations that key currency benchmarks had been rigged.

The BoE is under pressure from members of parliament to show it can police itself rigorously. Lawmakers have criticized the Bank's governance system, centered on its Court of Directors, as outdated.

Last week, the BoE suspended an employee as part of an initial review into the foreign exchange case. The separate investigation by the Court's Oversight Committee, which Grabiner will lead, was announced last week.

The conclusions of the investigation are likely to be published only after a separate probe by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Britain's main markets regulator, is completed, the statement said.

The FCA and the BoE were among authorities to open investigations into the allegations last October.

Carney said on Tuesday that a new deputy governor position, responsible for banking and markets, will be created as part of a broader shake-up at the bank.

(Reporting by Ana Nicolaci da Costa; editing by William Schomberg and Toby Chopra)