Barclays was hit with a record $469.9 million fine by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which also fined four of its former traders for manipulating energy rates in the western U.S. from late 2006 to 2008.
Bloomberg reported late Wednesday that FERC assessed a $435 million civil penalty, as well as ordering the bank to show cause why it should not also surrender $34.9 million in profit from its activities. It also proposed an individual penalty of $15 million for trader Scott Connelly and $1 million each for three colleagues.
“We are disappointed by the action that FERC took today and strongly disagree with the allegations made by FERC against Barclays and its former traders,” Mark Lane, a Barclays spokesman, said in a statement. “We believe that our trading was legitimate and in compliance with applicable law.”
FERC is also investigating energy trading by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Deutsche Bank, and in February it created a division within its enforcement office specifically to police the markets.
According to FERC, the traders were willing to incur losses in the next-day electricity markets so that they could improve Barclays’ positions in the InterContinental Exchange. The filing said in part, “Staff concludes that Barclays’ conduct constitutes, at a minimum, recklessness,” the traders knew their actions were “likely unlawful,” and that they ignored warnings from Joseph Gold, a Barclays’ managing director.