According to a report by Bloomberg, a list of foreign exchange traders will have to provide access to their messages sent through Facebook Inc. to European Union antitrust regulators. Sources close to the matter confirmed the next step in the foreign exchange markets rigging investigation.
While institutions have already been asked by regulatory bodies across the world to deliver their instant messaging records, no such step has been taken until now, including the personal social media accounts of the traders allegedly participating in collusion to manipulate the London fixing prices on the foreign exchange market.
According to the sources cited in the Bloomberg report, the requests for access to information from the personal social media accounts of the traders by the EU requests are private. While the communication on the servers of Facebook can be erased, traces containing the messages data could still be obtainable.
Last year, several regulators across the globe launched probes investigating inappropriate trading behavior on the foreign exchange markets in the run-up to the London fix.
A total of 19 probes have been launched across the globe as of now, with the UK and the US. leading the effort.
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In the US alone there are six institutions investigating the alleged wrongdoings on the foreign exchange market, with the Department of Justice having launched both criminal and antitrust probes, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) concerning itself with FX manipulation, while the SEC and the Federal Reserve are investigating the effects on options and exchange traded funds and the failure of internal controls and compliance.
The UK Financial Conduct Authority is investigating collusion and market manipulation practices, the Bank of England is looking at the communications between FX traders at different banks, while the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has opened a criminal investigation.
The European Commission has opened an antitrust probe, while the German regulator Bafin has allegedly discovered evidence confirming that there is clear evidence of FX manipulation.
Major financial institutions, Barclays Plc (LON:BARC), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), Deutsche Bank AG (ETR:DB1), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (LON:RBS), UBS AG (VTX:UBSN) have all confirmed that they are cooperating with authorities in the foreign exchange investigations.
Meanwhile, a number of global regulators alleging FX manipulation by many of the world’s leading banks are close to pressing charges with potential costs associated with fines and/or settlements allegedly close to $41 billion, with UBS AG having already announced that it is discussing a settlement.