Independent – An unprecedented crackdown on speculators preying on falling share prices began on both sides of the Atlantic yesterday, as Gordon Brown promised to "clean up the financial system" after days of turmoil.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) banned "short selling" of bank shares from midnight last night, after warnings that the practice helped fuel market turmoil that forced the dramatic £12.2bn takeover of HBOS by Lloyds TSB. This came as the New York Attorney announced his office had launched an investigation into illegal manipulation to profit from short selling. The move is to uncover whether speculators have spread misleading information or acted in concert to purposely drive down share prices.
Wealthy hedge fund traders, heavy users of the shorting strategy, have sparked fury after making millions from the collapse in value of UK banking stocks.