Oil giant BP faces being drawn into the foreign exchange (forex) rigging scandal after it emerged that it has been investigating whether its traders were linked to the manipulation of the £3 trillion-a-day market.
The UK-based group said it had carried out a review of its activities after global regulatory probes which resulted in six banks last month being fined £2.6 billion for rigging the market.
Details emerged after reports that members of a BP trading unit were told of planned currency trades hours before they happened.
News service Bloomberg said it had seen copies of messages sent to the oil giant’s staff from firms whose senior forex traders belonged to a chatroom known as “The Cartel”.
However there was said to be no evidence that any BP traders were members of the Cartel or that anyone at the oil firm acted on information given to them.
BP said in a statement: “Following regulatory market (not into BP) investigations regarding the foreign exchange markets, we conducted a review into our activities in this area.
“BP’s foreign exchange desk has relationships (as a customer) with 26 relationship banks, including JP Morgan, Citibank and Barclays.”
JP Morgan and Citibank were both among those fined last month while Barclays, though yet to finalise a settlement with regulators, has set aside £500 million over the affair.
The BP statement added: “BP has a robust framework of compliance requirements and internal controls which are constantly reviewed, and maintains an open dialogue with the appropriate regulators.
“BP’s code of conduct includes mandatory requirements for employees to disclose potential conflicts of interests internally. Following such disclosure, steps are taken to manage and monitor these appropriately.”
BP said it did not discuss internal reviews, adding: “We have an open and co-operative relationship with our regulator. Any discussions we have are confidential.”