UK Treasury chief to propose criminal sanctions covering foreign exchange trading

UK Treasury chief George Osborne is set to propose new criminal sanctions covering foreign exchange markets that a number of banks are alleged to have manipulated.

Osborne is set to use his annual speech on the state of the British economy Thursday to promise new regulation to protect the integrity of London as a financial center.

In excerpts released ahead of the speech, he pledged to deal with abuses, "tackle the unacceptable behavior of the few and ensure that markets are fair for the many who depend on them."

The decision comes amid a global scandal over the alleged manipulation of foreign exchange markets. Regulators in Europe and the U.S. are investigating a number of banks, and Citigroup and Barclays are among the institutions who have suspended traders.