Barclays (LON:BARC) has been fined $453 million and four of the bank’s traders have been separately fined $18 million for energy price rigging in the Western US between 2006 and 2008.
This is a record fine levied by the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for energy market manipulation.
Trader Scott Connelly was fined $15 million, while Karen Levine, Ryan Smith and Daniel Brin were fined $1 million each. The four traders have now left Barclays.
FERC has also ordered Barclays to give up $34.9 million in profits to dole out to programs that assist low-income homeowners to pay their energy bills in the states of California, Arizona, Oregon and Washington—where energy markets were manipulated.
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Barclays continues to deny the allegations, but the FERC ruling calls for the fine to be paid within 30 days.
“We believe that our trading was legitimate and in compliance with applicable law,” Barclays said in a 16 July statement. “We intend to vigorously defend this matter.”
Specifically, FERC says the traders made transactions in fixed-price products at a loss in order to purposefully move an energy index to benefit the bank’s own speculative trading. This manipulation is said to have caused $139 million in damage to the energy market, for which the financial burden rested with consumers in those states affected.
Last year, Barclays was fined £290 million by UK and US regulators for attempting to rig the interbank lending interest rate, LIBOR.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com