HSBC not alone: US probing 9 other banks over precious-metals pricing, WSJ reports

HONG KONG (Bloomberg) - U.S. officials are investigating at least 10 banks for the possible rigging of precious-metals markets, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unidentified people close to the inquiries.

Prosecutors in the Justice Department's antitrust division are looking at price-setting for gold, silver, platinum and palladium in London, the newspaper said. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has started a civil investigation, it said.

Banks under scrutiny include HSBC, Bank of Nova Scotia, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Societe Generale, Standard Bank Group and UBS, the newspaper said, citing one of the people close to the investigation.

Bank representatives declined to comment or couldn't immediately be reached, the newspaper said, adding that spokespeople for the Justice Department and CFTC declined to comment.

The report on the newspaper's website came after HSBC said Monday that U.S. criminal investigators and commodities regulators have sought documents from the bank on precious- metals dealings.

The Justice Department in November asked HSBC to voluntarily provide information on precious metals in a criminal antitrust investigation, and the CFTC subpoenaed a U.S. unit in January for documents on metals trading, the bank said in its annual report.

"These matters are at an early stage," HSBC said in the report. "It is not practicable at this time for HSBC to predict the resolution of these matters, including the timing or any possible impact." The lender said it's cooperating.

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