Are Platinum Prices Manipulated?

PlatinumNew York: A family run jewellery firm has issued a legal notice against major banking corporations for their alleged involvement in the rigging of metals contracts. Modern Settings has filed a class action lawsuit against banking giants Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Standard Bank. They were joined by chemical company, BASF, alleging manipulation of benchmarks used to set the price of platinum and palladium, reports

The lawsuit was filed in New York and details state that the jeweller is seeking damages for the stated firms’ involvement in the manipulation of metals rates. Modern Settings claims that the firms have been acting unlawfully for over eight years, during which they have conspired to manipulate the global benchmarks for physical platinum and palladium prices, as well as futures and options tied to those prices.

The latest filing comes on the back of increased scrutiny of global benchmarks, due to banks having been previously involved in the manipulation of Libor, gold and the infamous FX rates fixing.

Modern Settings, a family run firm that was founded in 1951 in Manhattan, filed the suit as a class action in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday. The firms are believed to have pocketed from rate differentials, a practice known as front running in financial markets.

Gregory Asciolla, a partner at Labaton Sucharow LLP, the legal firm representing Modern Settings, issued a comment about the case, saying: “We found preliminary evidence…that something nefarious was going on that could not be explained any way other than a conspiracy between these four entities.”

The daily fix or rates setting is an age-old practice whereby banks and corporations set the price at a certain time. Barclays Bank was fined by the UK’s financial watchdog for its involvement in the gold fixing case.