A New York judge overseeing litigation accusing 16 banks of rigging prices in the foreign exchange market on Wednesday narrowed, but refused to dismiss antitrust lawsuits against Credit Suisse Group AG.
A group of investors has sued the global banks back in May for allegedly rigging prices for their own benefit by sharing confidential orders and trading positions.
The plaintiffs accused the banks of violating U.S. antitrust law by conspiring from 2003 to 2013 to manipulate FX prices, benchmarks, and bid/ask spreads.
In determining the acceptance of a collective action lawsuit, the court considers whether there is anything particularly unique that can’t be addressed in individual complaints.
Many of the plaintiffs, which include big names such as BlackRock Inc and Allianz SE’s Pacific Investment Management Co, plan to pursue similar litigation in London “against many of the bank defendants with respect to trades in Europe,” the 221-page complaint said.
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15 banks settled, but Credit Suisse opted to fight
The investors believe the banks in question acted in concert to manipulate either price for bids, offers or spreads for currency spot trades. Regulators are expected to lay out charges of illegal activities conducted by those banks before imposing fines which can reach 10 percent of their global turnover.
Fifteen banks settled those claims for a combined $2.31 billion. In contrast, Credit Suisse, which has previously said it did not find any evidence of misconduct, is fighting the antitrust charge.
The legal action follows the EU regulators to fine five banks more than €1 billion for colluding to reduce competition in markets for 11 currencies, including the US dollar, the euro, and the pound.
Earlier last year, the New York regulator accused more than a dozen traders and salespeople working for BNP Paribas of manipulating the forex market and other illegal activity over the course of six years. The Paris-based bank has since agreed to pay $350 million to make up for the misconduct.
Other banks have also faced huge fines for allowing their traders to club together to rig prices in FX markets. Also in 2017, four banks – Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase – pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rig the foreign exchange market and fines totaling $5.6 billion were handed down by the US Department of Justice.