Barclays says prepared to battle FERC charges in court

WASHINGTON Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:13pm EST

WASHINGTON Nov 29 (Reuters) - Barclays Bank PLC said on Thursday it was prepared to fight a proposed $470 million fine for alleged manipulation of the electricity market.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposed the record fine because of a series of emails and instant messages that the agency alleges shows traders driving up or down physical power prices in California to make money with their financial swap positions.

The British bank said in a regulatory filing with FERC that it was reserving the option to fight the proposed fine in U.S. district court, but left the door open to seek an alternative solution.

Barclays had 30 days after the fine was announced on Oct. 31, to elect whether to contest the charges through FERC's internal administrative procedures or in court.

The company is still expected to file by Dec. 14 a response to FERC's "order to show cause," in which it will refute FERC's allegations. FERC's litigation staff would then have until Jan. 28 to respond.

FERC spokesman Craig Cano said the agency had no comment on Barclay's filing "as it is a pending procedure."

Barclays had no immediate fresh comment but repeated its assertions from Oct. 31 that the company believes its trading "was legitimate and in compliance with applicable law."

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