Three ex-traders at the heart of criminal investigations over their participation in making up “the Cartel” forex rigging chatroom have reached an agreement with US prosecutors to surrender voluntarily and appear to face the charges at a New York court hearing scheduled for July 17.
The three currency traders are living in the UK and have to be extradited to the US, but after the agreement they will be able to return and stay at home until the case comes to trial.
Richard Usher, formerly of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Rohan Ramchandani, who worked at Citigroup Inc., and Chris Ashton, a former Barclays Plc trader, allegedly created a chat group that they named “the Cartel” to coordinate trading of US dollars and euros and manipulate the prices of the exchange rates, according to the charges.
The three men are charged with conspiring to restrain trade from the end of 2007 through the beginning of 2013. The goal of the conspiracy was to suppress and eliminate competition in the trading of the euro and the dollar in the US, UK and Switzerland.
The indictments against the trio came after US authorities came under open criticism for not prosecuting any traders involved in the FX rigging scandal since it broke out in 2013, although they did impose multi-billion dollar fines against major banks.
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“Today’s indictment reiterates our commitment to holding individuals accountable for corporate misconduct,” an official said.
Back in March 2016, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office looked at the same evidence and decided not to bring charges, citing insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.
Lawyers for the traders criticized the US for moving forward with the case but said that they will voluntarily travel to the New York to defend themselves and will deny any wrongdoing.
Rohan Ramchandani’s lawyer said: “Mr. Ramchandani has agreed to travel voluntarily to the USA to stand trial and clear his name. He has not committed any criminal offense. The Serious Fraud Office itself concluded as much, after 18 months of investigation and the review of half a million documents.”
The lawyer of Barclays Plc trader Chris Ashton added: “Chris Ashton has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice which will allow him to travel voluntarily to the United States to stand trial for an offense which he did not commit.”