Deutsche Bank Records Said to Show Silver Rigging at Other Banks

  • After German bank settled, it gave documents to plaintiffs
  • UBS, Barclays, Bank of America joined scheme, suit says

Deutsche Bank Records Said to Show Silver Rigging Scheme

Eight months after Deutsche Bank AG settled a lawsuit claiming it manipulated gold and silver prices, documents it disclosed as part of the accord provide “smoking gun” proof that UBS Group AG, HSBC Holdings Plc, Bank of Nova Scotia and other firms rigged the silver market, plaintiffs claim.

The allegation came in a filing Wednesday in a Manhattan federal court lawsuit filed in 2014 by individuals and entities that bought or sold futures contracts.

According to the plaintiffs, records surrendered by Deutsche Bank show traders and submitters coordinating trades in advance of a daily phone call, manipulating the spot market for silver, conspiring to fix the spread on silver offered to customers and using illegal strategies to rig prices.

“Plaintiffs are now able to plead with direct, ‘smoking gun’ evidence,’ including secret electronic chats involving silver traders and submitters across a number of financial institutions, a multi-year, well-coordinated and wide-ranging conspiracy to rig the prices,” the plaintiffs said in their filing. The new scheme “far surpasses the conspiracy alleged earlier.”

New Complaint

The plaintiffs are seeking permission to file a new complaint with the additional allegations. Their proposed complaint broadens the case beyond the four banks initially sued to include claims against units of Barclays Plc, BNP Paribas Fortis SA, Standard Chartered Plc and Bank of America Corp.

Representatives of UBS, BNP Paribas Fortis, HSBC, Standard Chartered and Scotiabank didn’t immediately respond to e-mails outside regular business hours seeking comment on the allegations. Barclays and Bank of America declined to immediately comment.

A judge dismissed the lawsuit against UBS this year but allowed the plaintiffs to file a new complaint against the bank.

The Deutsche Bank documents show two UBS traders communicated directly with two Deutsche Bank traders and discussed ways to rig the market, the plaintiffs said. Among other things, the traders shared customer order-flow information, improperly triggered customer stop-loss orders, and engaged in practices such as spoofing. Spoofing entails submitting bids or offers with the intention of canceling them before they’re executed as a way to drive prices.

"UBS was the third-largest market maker in the silver spot market and could directly influence the prices of silver financial instruments based on the sheer volume of silver it traded," the plaintiffs allege. "Conspiring with other large market makers, like Deutsche Bank and HSBC, only increased UBS’s ability to influence the market."

The case is In re: London Silver Fixing Ltd. Antitrust Litigation, 1:14-md-02573 U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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