ZURICH Feb 24 Switzerland's competition
commission WEKO is looking into possible manipulation of price
fixing in the precious metals market, its spokesman said on
The gold and silver fixes, along with other commodity
benchmarks, have come under increasing scrutiny by regulators in
Europe and the United States since a London Interbank Offered
Rate (Libor) manipulation case in 2012.
The century-old gold fix is a standard price for the metal
that banks set twice a day over the phone.
"We have a preliminary investigation into the manipulation
of gold and precious metal price fixing," the spokesman said. He
declined to say which banks were involved.
The spokesman said this preliminary investigation began in
2014, without elaborating.
It is unclear whether it started in March last year, when
WEKO opened an investigation into possible collusion in the
foreign exchange market by several banks.
This investigation is still ongoing, the spokesman said.
The Wall Street Journal reported the U.S. Department of
Justice and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission are
investigating at least 10 major banks, including Credit Suisse
and UBS, for possible rigging of precious
ICE Benchmark Administration will run an electronic gold
price benchmark from March 20 to replace the London gold fix.
Manipulation in the precious metals market emerged as part
of a probe into manipulation in the foreign exchange market,
which in November resulted in regulators fining six major banks,
including Zurich-based UBS, a total of $4.3 billion.
FINMA, Switzerland's financial watchdog, said in November it
had found a "clear attempt" to manipulate precious metals price
benchmarks during a cross-market investigation into trading at
A spokeswoman for UBS declined to comment on WEKO's
(Reporting by Joshua Franklin, editing by David Evans)