Chow Tai Fook avoids gold price fix fine

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Five other retailers and local trade association receive penalties.

Chinese jewellery retail giant Chow Tai Fook has avoided a fine from the Chinese government following an investigation into gold price fixing in the country.

According to Bloomberg a total five Shaghai-based businesses and a local trade association have been fined for manipulating precious metal prices. The investigation and penalties come as the Chinese government tightens business practices within the jewellery and watch industries.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) released a statement naming those businesses fined for price fixing practices. It is understood that gold jewellery stores and bullion sellers were manipulating the retail prices of their bullion and platinum jewellery with a scheme created with the Shanghai Gold & Jewelry Trade Association.

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According to stock exchange statements released yesterday two of the named businesses, Laofengxiang and Shanghai Yuyuan, have been fined 1% percent of their 2012 revenues for their part in the fixing, equating to about £530,000 for Shanghai Yuyuan.

The jewellery trade association involved was handed a 500,000 yuan (£52,830) penalty, the maximum fine possible for this type of offense, according to the NDRC statement.

Chow Tai Fook and fellow company Chow Sang Sang had stated from the outset of the investigation that they were not involved with the precious metal price fixing. Chow Tai Fook stated that it had become part of the investigation because of its membership to the trade association.

This latest set of fines is part of China’s new leadership anti-corruption drive. It has also banned advertising of luxury goods that depicts the giving of gifts to bosses in a bid to halt gift-giving, traditionally used to help oil the wheels of business deals.
 

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