World Economy

Major Banks Face US Probe

Major Banks Face US Probe
Major Banks Face US Probe

At least 10 major banks, including Barclays, HSBC and Goldman Sachs, are under investigation by US authorities over potential rigging of the precious metals market, according to a report.

The US Department of Justice’s antitrust division is looking at the price-setting process for gold, silver, platinum and palladium in London, despite the fact that European authorities earlier dropped a similar probe, the Alpha reported.

Other banks facing scrutiny include Bank of Nova Scotia, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Societe Generale, Standard Bank Group Ltd and UBS, the report said, citing sources.

The investigation follows global probes into the manipulation of benchmark interest rate Libor and currency markets, which have so far seen banks and brokerages fined tens of billions of pounds by regulators around the world.

Barclays was also fined £26 million ($40m) by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority last year for failings surrounding the London Gold Fixing – a process for setting the price of bullion – after one of its traders was found to have manipulated the system.

The “fix” was overhauled last year after allegations of market manipulation. Precious metals prices are now set electronically, instead of through twice daily conference calls involving just a handful of banks.

Both Britain’s FCA and German financial watchdog BaFin looked into possible manipulation of the precious metals markets, but dropped their investigations after failing to find evidence of wrongdoing, the report said.