UK traders acquitted of rigging currency market


Three former British traders were found not guilty of using an online chatroom to fix prices in the $5.1 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market.
A federal jury in New York rejected the government’s claim that Richard Usher, Rohan Ramchandani and Christopher Ashton, a group known as “The Cartel,” rigged the market from 2007 to 2013 by coordinating trades and manipulating prices on the spot exchange rate for euros and US dollars.
They wept in relief as the verdict was handed down in Manhattan federal court after the jury deliberated for less than a day.
“They’ll go back to same old, same old,” Mayra Rodriguez Valladares, a former foreign-exchange analyst for the New York Fed, said of the acquittal in an interview before the verdict. “It’s business as usual, everybody does it.”
Valladares, who also conducts training for bankers and regulators through her consulting firm MRV Associates Inc., predicted the verdict will be bad news for asset managers on the buy side — such as pension funds and insurance companies — who stand to lose money on products tied to the FX market because they lack the minute-to-minute information banks have. And it may lead to increased pressure on regulators.
“It will send a general signal to the market that the FX code is not going to be seen as having any teeth,” she said, referring to the FX Global Code, a set of guidelines aimed at raising standards after the rigging scandal.
Four banks, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Barclays Plc, pleaded guilty to manipulating currency markets in 2015 and agreed to pay $2.5 billion in fines.

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