Pre­cious met­als trad­ing is probed by EU af­ter US in­ves­ti­ga­tion

The Pak Banker - - 6BUSINESS -

Euro­pean Union an­titrust reg­u­la­tors are prob­ing pre­cious-met­als trad­ing fol­low­ing a U.S. in­ves­ti­ga­tion that em­broiled some of the world's big­gest banks.

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion dis­closed the probe af­ter HSBC Hold­ings Plc said in a fil­ing ear­lier this month that it had re­ceived a re­quest for in­for­ma­tion from the EU in April. "The com­mis­sion is cur­rently in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­leged anti-com­pet­i­tive be­hav­ior in pre­cious met­als spot trad­ing" in Europe, Ri­cardo Car­doso, a spokesman for the reg­u­la­tor, said in an e-mail on Tues­day.

HSBC said in its half-year earn­ings re­port on Aug. 3 that the Brus­sels-based com­mis­sion in April sought de­tails about its pre­cious-met- als oper­a­tions and that it's "co­op­er­at­ing with the author­i­ties." U.S. pros­e­cu­tors have been ex­am­in­ing whether at least 10 banks, in­clud­ing Bar­clays Plc, JPMor­gan Chase & Co. and Deutsche Bank AG, ma­nip­u­lated prices of pre­cious met­als such as sil­ver and gold. The scru­tiny fol­lows in­ter­na­tional probes into the rig­ging of fi­nan­cial bench­marks for rates and cur­ren­cies, which have yielded bil- lions of dol­lars in fines.

The trio was among fi­nan­cial com­pa­nies that agreed in an EU set­tle­ment to pay a to­tal of 1.7 bil­lion eu­ros ($2 bil­lion) in De­cem­ber 2013 for col­lud­ing over de­riv­a­tives linked to the Lon­don and euro in­ter­bank of­fered rates. HSBC re­mains un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion in the Euri­bor case af­ter re­fus­ing to join the ac­cord.

In the U.S., UBS Group AG said in May that it won im­mu­nity from crim­i­nal fraud charges in a Jus­tice Depart­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tion into mis­con­duct in the trad­ing of pre­cious met­als.

Bar­clays said in a July fil­ing it has been "pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion to the DOJ and other author­i­ties in con­nec­tion with in­ves­ti­ga­tions into pre­cious met­als and pre­cious met­als-based fi­nan­cial in­stru­ments."

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