A reward of €200,000 is being offered for evidence that leads to winning a lawsuit against Deutsche Bank, which allegedly colluded with two other banks in the manipulation of the futures market price of silver in 2012 and 2013. The bank has its headquarters in Frankfort, Germany, is the 17th largest bank in the world in total assets and has branches in 58 countries.
In 2016, Deutsche Bank offered $38 million to settle the suit, but the offer was rejected. It is not clear why the offer was turned down, possibly because the other banks named in the suit, HSBC Holdings PLC and Bank of Nova Scotia, wanted their day in court. The deadline for supplying any evidence is August 31, 2018, which means that lawyers may soon start slugging it out in the court room.
The plaintiffs allege that they were damaged because they had invested in the silver on the long side and that the banks manipulated prices to the downside. Price manipulations are illegal, regardless of which direction prices are manipulated.
Deutsche Bank’s history in agreeing to settlements in price manipulations does not bode well for the bank. In June this year, Deutsche agreed to pay $205 million to settle currency rigging charges. The violations took place between 2007 and 2013.
In October 2017, Deutsche to pay $220 million to settle a lawsuit alleging Libor interest rate manipulations brought by 45 US states. That settlement brought the German bank’s payout in the Libor interest rate scandal to $3.7 billion. Libor, the London Interbank Offered Rate, is used by banks to set rates on hundreds of trillions of dollars of credit card, mortgage, student loan and other transactions. Worldwide, banks have paid roughly $9 billion to settle Libor-rigging probes.
Citigroup Inc. reached a similar $130 million settlement in July 2017, while the British bank Barclays Plc. settled for $120 million in November 2015.
In December 2016, Deutsche agreed to a $7.2 billion settlement over its sale and pooling of toxic mortgage securities in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis.
Considering all the settlements of price manipulation allegations (and other shenanigans), there is a good possibility that the price manipulation of silver (and gold) will be proven in court. However, how does that compensate the millions of investors who suffered because of those manipulations?