* Bafin has been looking at gold, silver fixings for months
* Bafin says probe still ongoing
* Watchdog asked Deutsche Bank for documents in gold probe
FRANKFURT, Dec 13 (Reuters) - German banking regulator Bafin
has demanded documents from Deutsche Bank as part of
a probe into suspected manipulation of benchmark gold and silver
prices by banks, the Financial Times reported, citing sources.
Bafin has questioned the bank's staff during several on-site
inspections over the past few months, the newspaper said on its
website, citing people familiar with the matter.()
Bafin on Friday repeated that besides Libor and Euribor, it
has been looking at other benchmark setting processes like gold
and silver price fixings at individual banks.
"The examinations were launched several months ago and are
still ongoing," a Bafin spokesman said.
He declined to comment on the newspaper's report but said
Bafin has the power to conduct interviews and request documents
or other information from banks in its enquiries.
Following probes into benchmark interest rate rigging by
banks, Bafin is investigating whether traders may have colluded
to influence the level of the precious metals benchmarks for
their own benefit, a source close to the regulator had said in
late November, adding no concrete evidence of wrongdoing had
been found so far.
Deutsche Bank is the only German lender involved in gold
fixing and is part of the investigation, the source had said.
Deutsche Bank is also one of three banks that take part in
the equivalent process for silver.
The regulator, meanwhile, is also examining the derivatives
Currently, gold fixing happens twice a day by teleconference
with five banks: Deutsche Bank, Bank of Nova
Scotia-ScotiaMocatta, Barclays Bank Plc, HSBC
Bank USA, NA and Societe Generale. The fixings are
used to determine prices globally.
Deutsche Bank declined to comment on Friday.
Germany's biggest lender announced last week that it was
pulling the plug on its global commodities trading business in
energy, agriculture, base metals, coal and iron ore, although it
would continue trading in precious metals and financial
The move came as the financial sector's role in commodity
trading has been squeezed by lower margins, higher capital
requirements and growing political and regulatory scrutiny of
the role of banks in the natural resources supply chain
Deutsche Bank has been pursuing an ambitious cultural
transformation plan led by its co-chief executives Juergen
Fitschen and Anshu Jain, and as it works through a long list of
scandals, investigations and fines that came in the wake of the
The bank set aside 1.2 billion euros ($1.65 billion) for
potential legal charges in the third quarter, wiping out profit
and raising the total amount of legal reserves to 4.1 billion
EU antitrust regulators this month slapped Deutsche Bank
with a 725 million euro fine, the biggest penalty handed out to
six banks in the regulators' probe into rigging of the Libor and
Euribor benchmark interest rates.
The Libor interest rate scandal has prompted authorities and
banking industry bodies worldwide to overhaul rate-setting
processes. Probes are also under way in the United States and
Britain's Financial Conduct Authority had asked those who
administer major, non-interest rate-related benchmarks,
including gold, to assess by July next year how they comply with
new global regulatory principles governing all types of indexes
following the Libor scandal.
The FCA declined comment on Friday.