On May 20, 2015, the Department of Justice / Antitrust Division obtained guilty pleas and some $2.5 billion in criminal fines for conspiring to fix prices and rig bids in the foreign currency exchange spot market settlements from Barclays PLC, Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and The Royal Bank of Scotland plc. See: "Five Major Banks Agree to Parent-Level Guilty Pleas / Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays PLC, The Royal Bank of Scotland plc Agree to Plead Guilty In Connection With The Foreign Exchange Market and Agree to Pay More Than $2.5 Billion In Criminal Fines" (Press Release, United States Department of Justice / Antitrust Division, 15-643, May 20, 2015).READ FULL TEXT PLEA AGREEMENTS:The other shoe has dropped.
Richard Usher: former Head of G11 FX Trading-UK, an affiliate of The Royal Bank of Scotland plc; and former Managing Director at an affiliate of JPMorgan Chase & Co.); Rohan Ramchandani: former Managing Director and head of G10 FX spot trading at an affiliate of Citicorp; and Christopher Ashton: former Head of Spot FX at an affiliate of Barclays PLC with conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for U.S. dollars and euros exchanged in the FX spot market.If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine (or twice the gain derived or loss suffered from the crime if said amounts exceed $1 million) READ FULL TEXT Indictment NOTE: An Indictment contains merely allegations and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. As alleged in the Indictment:
18. From at least as early as December 2007 and continuing at least through January 2013 (the "relevant period"), the exact dates being unknown to the Grand Jury, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, RICHARD USHER, ROHAN RAMCHANDANI, and CHRISTOPHER ASHTON (collectively, "Defendants"), and their co-conspirators, participated in a combination and conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition for the purchase and sale of BUR/USD in the United States and elsewhere by fixing, stabilizing, maintaining, increasing, and decreasing the price of, and rigging bids and offers for, EUR/USD in the FX Spot Market. The combination and conspiracy engaged in by Defendants and their co-conspirators unreasonably restrained interstate and U.S. import trade and commerce in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § 1),As further detailed in the Indictment:
23. For the purpose of forming and carrying out the charged combination and conspiracy, USHER, RAMCHANDANI and ASHTON, the Defendants, together with their coconspirators, did those things that they combined and conspired to do, including, among other things:
For the full sense of BrokeAndBroker.com Blog's publisher Bill Singer's less than enthusiastic reaction to DOJ's ongoing FOREX cases, see:(a) participating in telephone calls and electronic messages, including engaging in near-daily conversations in a private electronic chat room, which the chat room participants, as well as others in the FX Spot Market, at times referred to as "The Cartel" or "The Mafia," and discussing, among other things, past, current, and future customer orders and trades; customer names; and risk positions;(b) agreeing to suppress and eliminate competition in the FX Spot Market, including, at times, by refraining from trading against each other's interests and coordinating their bidding, offering, and trading as described in Paragraphs 23(c) and (d) below;(c) coordinating their bidding, offering, and trading in certain instances, for the purpose of increasing, decreasing, maintaining, and stabilizing the price of EUR/USD, including by refraining from bidding, offering, and trading at certain times;(d) coordinating their bidding, offering, and trading, including by refraining from bidding, offering, and trading, in and around the time Of certain ECB and WMR fixes, for the purpose of increasing, decreasing, maintaining, and stabilizing the price of EUR/USD by the time of the fix, profiting from trading in and around the time of the fix, and avoiding or lessening any loss from trading in and around the time of the fix;(e) filling customer orders at prices determined by such fix rates; and (f) monitoring and enforcing the combination and conspiracy, set forth in Paragraph 18.