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Financial watchdog reviews TfL role in Crossrail delay

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The financial watchdog is considering a formal investigation into Transport for London’s (TfL’s) handling of the annoucement that Crossrail is being delayed.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed that it could launch a formal investigation into the transport body’s failure to inform the London Stock Exchange about delays to Crossrail as soon as it was aware of them. 

An investigation could land TfL with a fine, if it is deemed to have withheld information which could have an impact investment activity on the Stock Exchange. 

London mayor Sadiq Khan and TfL insist that they did not know about the delay until 29 August, two days before it was made public. However, the London Assembly has since ruled that TfL did know about the delay before it made a statement to the Stock Exchange on 24 July. 

The FCA’s decision follows calls from London Assembly transport committee chair Caroline Pidgeon for more transparency. Pidgeon said that there are “grave discrepancies” between TfL’s statements to evidence gathered about Crossrail. 

In a letter to Pidgeon, FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey said he will now consider whether it is “appropriate” to launch a formal investigation.

“We are aware of and are reviewing the issues referred to in your letter, with a view to determining whether it is appropriate for us to exercise any of our statutory powers,” he said.

“Post completion of our review we will then consider whether it is appropriate for the FCA to launch a formal investigation via its enforcement division, whether some other form of intervention is required or indeed whether the case should be closed with no further action.”

Pidgeon said: “The transport committee identified grave discrepancies in the evidence gathered from meetings to determine who knew what, when, with regard to the launch of Crossrail.

“We can only conclude that we have been misled – and now the financial markets will want to know if they have been misled too.

“Not being transparent about such a large infrastructure project affects many people and many businesses. Any misconduct should be taken very seriously.” 

A TfL spokesperson said: “Crossrail Ltd notified TfL of a delay to the start of Elizabeth line services through central London on the 30 August and we issued an update to the Stock Exchange on the 31 August, as is the required process.”

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