LONDON Jan 11 The U.S. Justice Department's
charges against three former currency traders on Tuesday brought
a new twist to a rigging scandal that engulfed the world's
largest financial market, saw dozens of traders fired and big
banks fined around $10 billion.
Richard Usher, formerly of JPMorgan, Rohan Ramchandani,
formerly of Citigroup, and Christopher Ashton, formerly of
Barclays, were charged with conspiring to restrain trade in an
indictment filed at a federal court in Manhattan.
The three were members of the "Cartel" chatroom in which
they are alleged to have shared sensitive client order
information to manipulate exchange rates.
Below is a timeline on the scandal that consumed the largely
unregulated $5.3 trillion-a-day market.
Jan. 10: U.S. Department of Justice indicts three London-based
former traders and members of "The Cartel" chatroom, Rohan
Ramchandani, Richard Usher and Chris Ashton.
Jan. 4: Former Barclays trader Jason Katz becomes the first
person to admit criminal wrongdoing in the FX probe, pleading
guilty to U.S. charges to participating in a price-fixing
March: Britain's SFO closes its FX investigation without having
brought any charges, saying "the alleged conduct, even if proven
and taken at its highest, would not meet the evidential test
required to mount a prosecution for an offence contrary to
Nov.: Ex-Citi trader Perry Stimpson wins his unfair dismissal
hearing at an employment tribunal in London.
May: The U.S. DOJ fines six banks (Citi, JP Morgan, HSBC, RBS,
Barclays and Bank of America Merrill Lynch) a total of $6
billion. The first five pleaded guilty to felony charges, while
BAML was fined for compliance failures.
Dec.: Former RBS trader Paul Nash is the first individual to be
Nov.: British and U.S. authorities fine six of the world's
biggest banks - Citi, JP Morgan, HSBC, RBS, UBS and Bank of
America Merrill Lynch - a total of $4.3 billion for failing to
prevent their traders sharing clients' order information and
attempting to manipulate the market.
Nov.: The Bank of England fires chief dealer Martin Mallett, and
announces it has scrapped the regular chief dealers meetings for
July: Britain's Serious Fraud Office formally opens
investigation into FX rigging.
March: The Bank of England suspends Martin Mallett, and appoints
Lord Anthony Grabiner to lead an independent investigation into
what the Bank knew of alleged currency market collusion and
Feb.: The Financial Stability Board, the world's top financial
regulator which coordinates policy for the G20, says it will
review FX fixings.
Feb.: New York's banking regulator opens its investigation.
Jan.: Citi fires chief dealer Rohan Ramchandani, a member of the
BoE-chaired chief dealers group and the first trader in the
unfolding scandal to be sacked.
Dec.: Several banks, including JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs
and Deutsche Bank ban traders from multi-dealer electronic
Oct.: The investigation goes global. The DOJ, Britain's
Financial Conduct Authority and Bank of England, and
Switzerland's market regulator all open probes. The Hong Kong
Monetary Authority says it is cooperating.
Sept.: Swiss bank UBS provides the U.S. Department of Justice
with information on FX allegations in the hope of gaining
antitrust immunity if charged with wrongdoing.
July: A scheduled chief dealers meeting for July 4 never takes
June: Bloomberg News reports dealers used electronic chatrooms
to share client order information to manipulate benchmark
exchange rates at the 4:00 p.m. London "fixing". These chatrooms
had names such as "The 3 Musketeers" and "The Cartel".
Feb.: The chief dealers group meets for what will be the last
April: As the Libor scandal reaches its zenith, the regular FX
chief dealers meeting included a "brief discussion on extra
levels of compliance that many bank trading desks were subject
to when managing client risks around the main set piece
benchmark fixings," BoE minutes say.
July: A meeting of the BoE's FX Joint Standing Committee's chief
dealers sub-group discusses the suggestion "that using a
snapshot of the market may be problematic, as it could be
subject to manipulation," BoE minutes say.
May: Minutes of a meeting of the FX chief dealers say there was
"considerable discussion" on the benchmark "fixings" again.
Spring: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York makes enquiries
into concerns surrounding benchmark Libor interest rates,
sharing its analysis and suggestions for reforms with "the
relevant authorities in the UK."
July: Minutes of a chief dealers meeting say the group discussed
"evidence of attempts to move the market around popular fixing
times by players that had no particular interest in that fix. It
was noted that 'fixing business' generally was becoming
increasingly fraught due to this behaviour."
July: The first meeting of the Bank of England's FX Joint
Standing Committee's chief dealers sub-group. These
get-togethers between top London-based FX traders and senior BoE
officials will become known as the chief dealers meetings. They
will be held regularly every year up to 2013, where the traders
and Bank officials will discuss market trends and issues. Every
meeting will be chaired by BoE chief dealer Martin Mallett.
(Compiled by Jamie McGeever)