UPDATE 2-Banks face scrutiny over pricing of precious metals-WSJ

Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:15am EST
 
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(Adds Standard Bank spokesman declining to comment)

Feb 24 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission are investigating at least 10 major banks for possible rigging of precious-metals markets, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people close to the inquiries.

DoJ prosecutors are scrutinizing the price-setting process for gold, silver, platinum and palladium in London, while the CFTC has opened a civil investigation, the newspaper said.

The banks are HSBC Holdings Plc, Bank of Nova Scotia, Barclays Plc, Credit Suisse Group AG , Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc , JPMorgan Chase & Co, Societe Generale, Standard Bank Group Ltd and UBS Group AG, the Journal said. (on.wsj.com/1FmfjWG)

Standard Bank spokesman Erik Larsen declined to comment on the report. The other banks, the DoJ and CFTC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The CFTC issued a subpoena to HSBC Bank USA in January seeking documents related to the bank's precious metals trading operations, HSBC said on Monday.

The DoJ also issued a request to HSBC Holdings in November seeking documents related to a criminal antitrust investigation it is conducting in relation to precious metals, HSBC said.

Precious metal benchmarks have come under increased regulatory scrutiny since a scandal broke in 2012 over manipulation of Libor interest rates.

HSBC was one of several banks named in lawsuits filed in U.S. courts last year alleging a conspiracy to manipulate gold, silver, platinum and palladium prices, as well as precious metals derivatives, during the daily precious metals fixes.   Continued...