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Swiss authorities probe seven banks for price fixing in metals market

GENEVA: Swiss competition authorities said Monday they were investigating UBS, HSBC, Deutsche Bank and four other major banks for suspected price fixing in the trade of precious metals like gold and silver.

The Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO) said it was looking into whether seven banks had colluded to manipulate prices in the precious metals market.

The watchdog said in a statement that it had “opened an investigation against two Swiss banks, UBS and Julius Baer, as well as against the foreign financial institutions Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays, Morgan Stanley and Mitsui.”

COMCO, which opened a preliminary probe in February, said it now had indications that the banks had “possibly concluded illegal competition defying deals” in the trade of the precious metals gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

“We think they can have manipulated the price of these precious metals,” COMCO deputy chief Patric Ducrey told AFP.

The competition authority said it especially suspected the banks had fixed the prices of bid/ask spreads within the market.

Ducrey said the banks had all been informed of the ongoing probe, and that the investigation would likely conclude in 2017.

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