FX Rigging May Have Spread to 200 Chat Rooms, Lawyer Says

Barclays, Citi, JPMorgan sued by investors over FX-rigging.

By Ellen Milligan and cross-posted from Bloomberg.

Traders may have used as many as 200 online chat rooms to rig foreign exchange rates, far more than previously thought, a lawyer for investors told a London court Monday.

Marie Demetriou, a lawyer for investment funds suing seven banks, said that some of the newly discovered chat rooms were instant message groups that lasted just a few hours while others were “permanent” fixtures established over months.

The chat rooms, as well as emails, telephone calls and WhatsApp messages will play a central role in a suit brought by investment funds. They’re suing banks including Barclays PlcCitigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co over allegations they lost money as a result of illegal manipulation of the FX market.

As a result of the disclosures, the investors are now in the process of re-pleading their case, Demetriou said. They expect that when the remainder of disclosure is given, “further chat rooms and unlawful anticompetitive communications will be identified,” she said.What’s moving marketsStart your day with the 5 Things newsletter.EmailBloomberg may send me offers and promotions.Sign UpBy submitting my information, I agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Citi, JPMorgan and Barclays were among five banks that agreed in 2019 to pay European Union fines totaling 1.07 billion euros ($1.3 billion) as part of a settlement with the antitrust regulator. Those probes focused on two cartels that traders ran on chat rooms called “Essex Express n’ the Jimmy” and “Three Way Banana Split,” swapping sensitive information and trading plans that allowed them to make informed decisions to buy or sell currencies…

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