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Bank of England acknowledges press conference audio breaches

The Bank of England has acknowledged that a third-party supplier misused the audio feed of a number of bank press conferences before they had been officially broadcast following inquiries by The Times.

"This wholly unacceptable use of the audio feed was without the Bank's knowledge or consent, and is being investigated further," the bank said in a statement.

The announcement followed an article published by The Times that reported that hedge funds had been "eavesdropping" on the bank's press conferences via an audio feed supplied by a third-party supplier since earlier this year.

The supplier had been selling the service to high-frequency trading firms via a market news service that charges between £2,500 and £5,000 per press conference. It promises clients the potential of significant profits by providing access to market-sensitive information milliseconds before their rivals, The Times reported.

The BoE canceled the third-party's access after identifying the breach after which the supplier was barred from the bank's most recent and future conferences.

The bank clarified that the leak had not involved the release of market-sensitive statements of its policy committees. "The issue identified related only to the broadcast of press conferences that follow such statements," it said.