Five major banks, including Morgan Stanley, have received preliminary approval to pay out $111.2 million in collective penalties to settle their involvement in an antitrust lawsuit alleging that their traders routinely manipulated the forex market for their own profit.
One month after being tasked with reviewing the pending settlement, US District Judge Lorna A. Schofield gave her preliminary approval to a deal that will settle claims over fraudulent activity going back to 2007. A final hearing for the settlement is set after a few weeks.
The settlement announced last month concerns Morgan Stanley ($50 million), RBC ($15.5 million), Societe Generale ($18 million), Standard Chartered ($17.2 million) and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ ($10.5 million). In agreeing to settle, the banks have denied wrongdoing.
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The preliminary cash settlement with investors, led by Kenneth Feinberg, was disclosed in papers filed in the US District Court in Manhattan in July, and required a judge’s approval.
They join the nine banks who settled earlier in the year, and the total payouts to investors now amount to more than $2.12 billion, court papers show. Credit Suisse Group AG and Deutsche Bank AG have yet to settle.
Other defendants include Bank of America, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS.
Investors including hedge and pension funds accused the 16 banks, which controlled more than 80 percent of the global forex market, of having conspired since 2007 in chat rooms, instant messages and emails to manipulate the WM/Reuters closing spot rates.
The investors said that traders used chat rooms with names such as ‘The Cartel’, ‘The Bandits’ Club’ and ‘The Mafia’ to swap confidential orders, and set prices through manipulative tactics with colorful names such as ‘front running’, ‘banging the close’ and ‘painting the screen’.