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Shell grilled by U.K. Treasury Select Committee over role of speculation in the rise of oil prices

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U.K.’s Market-Abuse Chief Resigns

July 21, 2008

The executive responsible for market-abuse policy at the U.K.’s financial watchdog has jumped ship to the Irish Stock Exchange, even as authorities in the U.S. and Europe step up their scrutiny of volatile global markets.

Mike Duignan, who currently runs market-abuse policy at the Financial Services Authority, agreed to head up market supervision at Ireland’s stock exchange. The Irish bourse recently separated its supervisory unit from its exchange business in an effort to improve market monitoring and “strengthen the reputation of the ISE and its markets,” according to Deirdre Somers, the ISE’s chief executive.

A spokesman for the FSA said that it has yet to appoint a successor for Mr. Duignan, but will do so eventually. Mr. Duignan’s departure comes as lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic put regulators under pressure to calm jumpy markets.

The U.K.’s Treasury Select Committee last week held a hearing into the regulation of oil markets at which witnesses from the FSA, oil market ICE Futures Europe and Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell were grilled over the key factors behind the rise in oil prices, including the role of speculation. Alexander Justham, a director in the FSA’s markets division, played down fears over the existence of a “London loophole” that U.S. lawmakers have claimed might allow institutional investors to manipulate oil prices.

–From Financial News at

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