Barclays slapped with $44 million fine over gold price fix

Fri May 23, 2014 1:07pm EDT
 
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By Steve Slater and Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays Plc has been fined 26 million pounds ($43.8 million) for failures in internal controls that allowed a trader to manipulate the setting of gold prices, just a day after the bank was fined for rigging Libor interest rates in 2012.

Britain's Barclays is the first bank to be fined over attempted manipulation of the 95-year-old London gold market daily "fix", although a source familiar with the fine said it was a one-off and not part of a wider investigation into gold price rigging.

It marks another blow to Barclays' attempts to put past problems behind it.

The Financial Conduct Authority said on Friday there were failings at Barclays from 2004 until 2013, but the key event occurred on June 28, 2012, a day after UK and U.S. regulators fined it $450 million over attempted Libor rigging.

"A firm's lack of controls and a trader's disregard for a customer's interests have allowed the financial services industry's reputation to be sullied again," said Tracey McDermott, the FCA's director of enforcement and financial crime.

The FCA said it had banned former Barclays trader Daniel James Plunkett and fined him 95,600 pounds for exploiting weaknesses in the bank's systems.

"Plunkett's actions came the day after the publication of our Libor and Euribor action against Barclays. The investigation and outcomes in that case meant that the firm, and Plunkett, were clearly on notice of the potential for conflicts of interests around benchmarks," McDermott said.

Plunkett fixed the price in order to avoid the payment of $3.9 million to a customer under an option, which boosted his own trading book by $1.75 million, the FCA said. The bank later compensated the client in full.   Continued...

 
A couple walks past a Barclays branch in downtown Rome May 8, 2014. REUTERS/Max Rossi