The three British currency traders who were part of an exclusive online chat group referred to by members as “the cartel” go on trial this week for alleged market manipulation that’s already cost global banks $14 billion in penalties.
Bloomberg News reports that the trio represented banks handling a major chunk of the $5.1 trillion-a-day currency market. The men are accused of rigging a key market benchmark to profit at the expense of competitors and their own customers. Since their behavior was exposed by Bloomberg in 2013, the industry has pledged to clean up its act with tighter in-house restrictions and better compliance tools.
A highlight of the trial, which begins Tuesday in federal court in New York, will be testimony by a former member of the group, which was also referred to as “the mafia.” Recordings of telephone calls and transcripts of the group’s instant-message chats will probably be presented. Prosecutors say the defendants, who each face as long as 10 years in prison, coordinated their trades to manipulate the spot exchange rate for euros and dollars from 2007 to 2013. All three have pleaded not guilty.
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