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US uphold record fine imposed against Barclays

US energy regulators uphold a record $453m fine

Barclays was back in the doghouse today after US energy regulators upheld a record $453 million (£299.8 million) fine imposed on the bank last year.

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) reaffirmed its belief that Barclays had rigged Californian electricity markets between 2006 and 2008. The penalty was originally proposed in October, and upheld after a review by the regulator.

The case is now likely to move to federal court, where Barclays hopes to defend itself against the allegations.

“We have co-operated fully with the FERC investigation, which relates to trading activity that occurred several years ago. We intend to vigorously defend this matter,” the bank added. Its shares fell 1.7p to 306.55p as the City digested the fine. Analysts expect it to fight to the end.

“This is by its very nature a one-sided prosecution document, and it cannot be enforced without reference to the Courts,” Ian Gordon at Investec said. “This process should afford Barclays ample scope to present its case.

“We would expect Barclays to argue that there is no legal  basis or precedence for the FERC fine and that its employees’  trading was entirely legitimate  and in compliance with the applicable law.”

The FERC order states that the bank must pay $435 million within 30 days while the managing director of its power trading  team, Scott Connelly, must pay  $15 million.