Bank Cartels Might Have Used 200 Chat Rooms for FX Rigging

The new evidence shows the market manipulation was even bigger than previously anticipated.

The on-going lawsuit against the forex rigging cartel of seven banks has taken a massive turn as the defendants’ lawyer told a London court that the traders might have used up to 200 chat rooms to co-ordinate forex price manipulation, according to a Bloomberg report.

Marie Demetriou is representing the investment funds, including Allianz, PIMCO, Brevan Howard, BlueCrest and some pension funds. They have sued big banks, like Barclays, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase, over allegations of losing money due to price rigging.

Demetriou revealed that some of the traders communicated on some of the instant chat rooms that lasted for hours. However, some of the messaging groups were permanent.

The accused have used several chat rooms, emails, Whatsapp messages and even telephones to co-ordinate the FX market manipulation. If the evidence can back these claims, this could make the case against them strong.

The investors are now repleading the case, and Demetriou believes that: “further chat rooms and unlawful anticompetitive communications will be identified.”

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A Massive Scandle in the Forex Market

More than a dozen major multinational banking giants were accused of rigging the forex currency benchmark rates between 2003 and 2013. The manipulation is massive as it impacted a market with a daily volume of multi-trillion dollars.

These accused banks are facing multiple lawsuits in several jurisdictions. Last year, a US court allowed institutional investors to pursue a class-action lawsuit against 15 major banks for rigging forex rates.

Meanwhile, many of these banks were fined by regulators for some specific price rigging incidents. Five banks, including Citi, Barclays and JP Morgan, paid 1.07 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in fines to the European Union antitrust regulator as a part of their settlement in 2019 for probes in only two chat rooms.

In total, over a dozen of these banks have paid around $11.8 billion in fines to several global regulators and had to shell out another $2.3 billion as compensation to customers and investors.

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