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French regulator to probe attacks on Spain and Italy

France’s market regulator is to probe speculative attacks on the Spanish and Italian economies, its head said Friday, amid fears that more eurozone countries are on the brink of Greek-style debt crises.

“Whether it is French banks or foreign banks operating in Paris, whether it is funds in Paris, Berlin or London, is not important,” declared Jean-Pierre Jouyet, head of the AMF financial market authority.

“When I hear of speculation, when I see abnormal market movements, there will be inquiries and punishments. And if it is establishments backed by the state, which I can’t imagine, that would be a complete scandal.”

Jouyet said the AMF had been in contact with other European regulators to discuss action against traders suspected of profiting from “unfounded rumours” about the safety of Italian and Spanish government debt.

Fears that debt-ridden Mediterranean members of the eurozone may be forced to default on government debt have undermined the euro and banking shares and have destabilised markets around the world.