Barclays fined £299m by US energy regulator
Banking giant, Barclays, was told yesterday it must pay $435 million within 30 days by the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for “rigging” the electricity market.
FERC first made the charges last October, accusing the London-based bank of deliberately manipulating energy prices in four US states between November 2006 and December 2008.
FERC’s board of commissioners upheld the charges demanding the bank pay the fines and also forego nearly $35 million in profits, which will fund programs, that help those on low incomes in California, Washington, Oregon and Arizona, pay their energy bills.
The chairman of the Energy Committee, Ron Wyden, said in a public statement: “Consumers have the right to heat and power their homes without the fear that traders are stacking the deck against them to rack up unjust profits.”
Barclays has denied the claims and said it intends to “vigorously defend” the matter by making a legal challenge. However, regulators supported the accusations with a string of damning emails in which various traders gloated about the ease at which they could manipulate markets.
As a result, four individual traders, who have since left Barclays, will have to pay personal fines, three equalling $1 million and another of $15 million.
This latest scandal for the beleaguered bank comes just a year after it was fined £290 million by regulators from the UK and US for rigging the interbank offered interest rate.