The U.S. federal probe that ended last month with guilty pleas and $6bn in fines from global banks began with an open secret - that currency traders there could talk to each other to coordinate trades.
Dozens of times a year before the Treasury holds an auction, salespeople at 22 primary dealers field billions of dollars in bids for government debt. Traders working at some of these financial institutions have the opportunity to learn specifics of those bids hours ahead of the auctions, according to several people familiar with these operations.
Traders at some of these dealers also have talked with counterparts at other banks via online chatrooms, according to people familiar with the operations, with one of them adding that the traders swapped gossip about clients’ Treasury orders as recently as last year.
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