November 2, 2012
Barclays traders toyed with electricity prices at several major power trading hubs in the western U.S. to boost their own profits.
The men were caught, and Barclays slapped with a $470million fine, after they bragged about the price rigging in a series of damning, foul-mouthed e-mails.
Four traders are accused of conspiring to sell electricity at a loss to drive prices down between November 2006 and 2008.
This enabled simultaneous bets on falling energy prices to reap huge profits, leading to losses of $140million for other investors and pensions funds.
EDITOR’S COMMENT: Recall that Enron, among other known corrupt entities have also been caught rigging electricity prices for profiteering adventures. This clip from ENRON: The Smartest Guys in the Room includes shocking actual audio from some of these Enron traders, bragging about driving up prices by artificially shutting down supply, among other tricks to game the market.
The Smartest Guys in the Room – California and Traders
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