The UK’s financial watchdog is considering an investigation into Transport for London amid questions over how it reported Crossrail’s delay to the stock exchange.
The Financial Conduct Authority said it was now assessing whether it should launch a formal investigation into TfL over a notice sent to the stock exchange in July that failed to mention the delay, which was announced publicly on 31 August.
On 24 July sent its TfL annual update on the £15.4bn project to the stock exchange.
The notice informed the markets that it would be receiving further funds from the government to complete the scheme, but did not mention a delay.
London Assembly’s transport committee chair Caroline Pidgeon claims that TfL was aware of likely delays to Crossrail on 19 July, five days before the notice.
Ms Pidgeon raised her concerns with the FCA in a letter sent earlier this month, and asked whether TfL’s actions had breached FCA rules.
In response, FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey said: “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.
“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.”
If a company is found in breach of FCA rules regarding stock market, it can face heavy fines.
TfL rejected the claims by Ms Pidgeon and said it was only informed by Crossrail of the delay to the opening of the line on 30 August.
A TfL spokeswoman said: “Crossrail Ltd notified TfL of a delay to the start of Elizabeth line services through central London on 30 August and we issued an update to the Stock Exchange on 31 August, as is the required process.”
Commenting on the FCA action, Ms 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.”
Earlier this month Ms Pidgeon accused the mayor of London Sadiq Khan of misleading the public over whether he knew the scheme would be delayed before the end of August.
She said it was “hard to believe” that the mayor of London had not been told until the end of August, and said evidence suggested it was “highly likely” he was informed soon after 19 July.
A spokesman for the mayor said Mr Khan was “frustrated and angry” by how late Crossrail decided to inform the public of the delay, and has now asked Crossrail and TfL to look into whether they should have informed joint sponsors of the revised schedule earlier.