US regulator upholds record $453 mln Barclays power-trade fine

NEW YORK, July 16 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said on Tuesday Barclays and four of its power traders must pay fines totaling $453 million, confirming the nation’s top energy cop will pursue its most ambitious market manipulation case to date.

The record fines, first proposed by the regulator’s staff in October 2012 over alleged manipulation of California and other western power markets by the British bank last decade, were upheld in an order after assessment by FERC commissioners.

Tuesday’s order said the FERC commissioners agreed with earlier findings by regulatory staff, which said the bank deliberately lost money in physical power markets to benefit its financial positions between 2006 and 2008, and that the Barclays traders knew their activity was unlawful.

“FERC finds that their actions demonstrate an affirmative, coordinated and intentional effort to carry out a manipulative scheme, in violation of the Federal Power Act and FERC’s Anti-Manipulation Rule,” the regulator said in a statement.

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