The Department of Justice has obtained its second plea agreement from a former forex trader in its ongoing probe of conspiring to fix prices in the foreign currency exchange market.
Christopher Cummins, who was a trader at the FX desks of three financial institutions in New York, was found to have suppressed competition by fixing prices in Central and Eastern European, Middle Eastern and African (CEEMEA) currencies.
Prosecutors said that from January 2007 until July 2013, Mr. Cummins conspired with traders at other firms to fix prices on a FX trading platform. As part of this conspiracy, Christopher and his co-conspirators coordinated bids, created non-bona fide trades and agreed on currency prices they would quote specific customers, according to the Justice Department.
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Cummins has agreed to cooperate in the government’s ongoing investigation. The government will ask that the defendant’s cooperation be considered in sentencing. The maximum penalty for the challenged conduct is ten years in prison and a $1 million fine for individuals.
Banks help U.S. broaden currency probe
Christopher’s plea came after Barclays and three other banks pleaded guilty at the parent level to conspiring to manipulate currency prices back in 2015. The four banks agreed to pay collectively more than $2.5 billion in criminal fines for their participation in an antitrust conspiracy to manipulate the price of U.S. dollars and euros exchanged in the FX market.
Now the U.S. government is using information from the banks to broaden its long-running investigation into the manipulation of foreign-currency markets. The investors say the banks fixed prices by agreeing to widen the difference between the prices at which they buy and sell currency, manipulating benchmark rates and exchanging confidential customer information to trigger client stop-loss and limit orders.