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Business

Swiss regulators probe possible metals price fixing

Swiss competition authorities have said they've opened an probe into whether a number of banks had been involved in the illegal fixing of precious metals prices. Deutsche Bank is among the scrutinized lenders.

Swiss regulators announced a probe on Monday into whether a group of large banks had fixed prices in the lucrative precious metals market.

The nation's Competition Commission (COMCO) "has 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," regulators said in a statement.

The competition watchdog noted it had indications that the lenders in question had "possibly concluded illegal [price-fixing] deals within the precious metals market.

Protracted scrutiny ahead

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DR Congo: The illegal trade in gold

The market involves trading in

gold, silver, platinum and palladium

.

Regulators indicated the probe was specifically meant to clarify whether banks had illegally agreed on so-called spreads, marking the difference in bid and offer prices.

UBS, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and HSBC refused to comment on the current probe, while Julius Baer said through a spokesperson it was cooperating with investigators.

Deutsche Bank was no longer active in the precious metals trading market, while UBS had remained a major player, Reuters reported.

The Competition Commission said investigations would possibly be concluded on 2016, but no later than 2017.

hg/jd (AFP, Reuters)

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