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EU expands probe of default swaps

BRUSSELS — The European Union’s competition watchdog is expanding its investigation of credit default swaps to include a major derivatives trade body that represents financial­ institutions.

The EU Commission said Tuesday that it is also investigating the International Swaps and Derivatives Association since finding ‘‘preliminary indications’’ the group may have assisted investment banks in delaying or preventing others from entering the credit derivatives business.

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The global derivatives market has an estimated value of $700 trillion. Swaps are a tradable form of insurance for bonds in case of default.

The European Union has been investigating the practices of some of the world’s largest banks, as well as the clearinghouse and financial data firm Markit Group, since 2011. The probe targets a market that has come under fire for lacking transparency.

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