The competition commission COMCO has opened an investigation into Swiss banks UBS and Julius Baer, in addition to five foreign banks, regarding their trade in precious metals.
The other banks being investigated are Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays, Morgan Stanley and Mitsui, according to a release from COMCO on Monday.
The competition commission stated it has reason to believe that the banks may have concluded illegal agreements in the trade of metals such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium. Specifically, COMCO suspects price-fixing in so-called “spreads”, or the difference between the bidding and offering price.
A spokesperson told Reuters that the investigation would be concluded in 2016 or 2017.
In 2012, COMCO also investigated Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse, as well as more than 10 foreign institutions, for colluding to influence the LIBOR and TIBOR reference rates. Such rates reflect the interest level in the interbank deposit market.
UBS and Credit Suisse were later fined $7.4 billion (CHF7 billion) and $4.8 billion, respectively, for illegal rate rigging.
swissinfo.ch and agencies