In separate instances related to nickel and copper deals dating to 2016, blue-chip banks including ICBC Standard Bank, Sberbank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) have abruptly halted financing of commodity trades made by Liberty after finding irregularities in the paperwork that underpins ownership.
With banks starting to eschew dealings with the company, other commodity traders took on the risk instead, people who dealt directly with Liberty told Fastmarkets in a dozen interviews.
The deals reflect a pattern of trading activity in which Liberty would enter into commodity repurchase agreements, or "repo" transactions, with banks and other financial partners that came to include traders. While repo deals are commonplace in commodities trading, sources said the dealings were on a scale unlike any other involving metal market participants.
A GFG spokesperson told Fastmarkets that the company refutes any suggestion of wrongdoing. "We abided by all the normal rules that apply to...