U.S. lawsuits hobble Deutsche Bank's bid to sell gold fix seat

Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:39am EDT
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* Deutsche negotiating sale of fixing seat since January

* U.S. investors, traders have filed 17 suits against fixers

* Increased scrutiny could complicate fixing process

By Clara Denina and Jan Harvey

LONDON, April 25 (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank may end up resigning its seat on the London gold fix rather than selling it as U.S. lawsuits alleging price rigging against the five banks that set the benchmark deter potential buyers, industry sources said.

Over the past two months, U.S.-based investors and traders have filed nearly 20 separate antitrust claims accusing Barclays , Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Bank of Nova Scotia and Societe Generale of colluding to manipulate the gold price.

At the time the initial suits were filed, Societe Generale called the claims "unsubstantiated", and Deutsche Bank described them as "without merit".

Barclays and HSBC have repeatedly declined to comment, while Bank of Nova Scotia has not responded to requests by Reuters for comment.

The court cases are complicating negotiations that Deutsche Bank had started with potential buyers after it announced in January it was putting its seat at the fix up for sale, a source with knowledge of the matter said.   Continued...