FSA to call for new 'Plumber' panel

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The Financial Services Authority will call today for the tribunal which is hearing the appeal by Paul "The Plumber" Davidson against a fine levied by the FSA to be dissolved and replaced by a fresh panel, untainted by any suggestions of bias.

The move by the main City regulator follows the resignation of one member of the four-man panel last week after it emerged he had discussed the case with a senior FSA official involved in imposing the original fine on Mr Davidson.

Mr Davidson is appealing before the Financial Services and Markets Tribunal against a £750,000 fine for market abuse handed down by the FSA last year over a spread bet he took out in connection with the flotation of one of his companies, Cyprotex.

The appeal ran into controversy a fortnight ago after it emerged that one member of the panel, Terence Mowschenson QC, discussed the case with the chairman of the FSA's regulatory decisions committee, Christopher FitzGerald, while he was taking his dog for a midnight walk. Mr FitzGerald was forced to resign from his post and last week Mr Mowschenson stood down from the appeal panel.

An FSA spokesman said it was entirely up to the tribunal itself to decide whether to disband the current panel and appoint a new one. "We look forward to the case going ahead in front of a properly constituted panel," he said.

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