With countless settlements documenting the rigging of every single asset class, it was only a matter of time before the regulators – some 10 years behind the curve as usual – finally cracked down on gold manipulation as well, even though as we have shown in the past, central banks in general and the Fed in particular are among the biggest gold manipulators.
That said, we are confident by now nobody will be surprised that there was manipulation going on in the gold casino. In fact, ever since Germany’s Bafin launched a probe into Deutsche Bank for gold and silver manipulation, it has been very clear that the only question is how many banks will end up paying billions to settle the rigging of the gold market (with nobody going to prison as usual, of course).
Earlier today, we learned that the Swiss competition watchdog just became the latest to enjoin the ongoing gold manipulation probe when as Reuters reported, it launched an investigation into possible collusion in the precious metals market by several major banks, it said on Monday, the latest in a string of probes into gold, silver, platinum and palladium pricing.
Here are the details that should come as a surprise to nobody:
Global precious metals trading has been under regulatory scrutiny since December 2013, when German banking regulator Bafin demanded documents from Deutsche Bank under an inquiry into suspected manipulation of gold and silver benchmarks by banks. Even though the market has moved to reform the process of deciding on its price benchmarks, accusations of manipulation have refused to go away.
Switzerland’s WEKO said its investigation, the result of a preliminary probe, was looking at whether UBS, Julius Baer, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays, Morgan Stanley and Mitsui conspired to set bid/ask spreads.
“It (WEKO) has indications that possible prohibited competitive agreements in the trading of precious metals were agreed among the banks mentioned,” WEKO said in a statement.
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