(Bloomberg) — Until 2014, the global reference price for silver and other precious metals was set each day in a phone call or at a meeting with traders at a handful of banks, a century-old ritual known as the London Fix. Deutsche Bank AG was one of the banks.
As early as 2008, one of its traders began conspiring with a trader at Fortis Bank, via electronic chat, to manipulate prices, according to court documents filed by silver investors seeking to broaden their claims that the market was rigged.
“Cant wait for another day when we get the bulldozer out of the garage on gold and sil,” the Fortis trader wrote on Feb. 25, 2008. “Haha yeah,” responded the Deutsche Bank trader, in a chat-room transcript included in court papers.
The two traders’ correspondence — as the Fortis trader moved to HSBC Holdings Plc and then Standard Chartered Plc over five years — are part of a cache of chat-room transcripts that for the first time provide an inside look at how traders allegedly fixed silver prices.
The documents were provided to silver investors as part of a $38 million settlement in April between them and Deutsche Bank over allegations of market manipulation. In the documents filed last week in Manhattan federal court, the investors told a judge that the transcripts offer convincing evidence to warrant new claims against other banks.
Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the documents; it neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing as part of its settlement. Representatives from HSBC, Standard Chartered and BNP Paribas SA, which acquired Fortis Bank in 2009, also declined to comment.
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