Banks fire traders as currency rigging scandal deepens

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Citigroup and HSBC are the latest international banking giants to suspend foreign exchange traders as the probe into the potential rigging of global currency deals deepens.

US regulators arrived in the UK this week to begin a joint investigation with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA); Britain’s financial watchdog.

The US regulators will work with the FCA – which launched investigations in October 2013 focusing on 15 main banks – to determine whether traders conspired to manipulate the foreign exchange market which trades over USD 5.3 trillion a day.

The investigations will focus on the sharing of client information via electronic chat rooms by senior traders.

Internal investigations

As the investigation turns up the heat, many banks are turning the spotlight upon themselves via internal investigations.

Booking.com

Citi, Deautsche Bank and HSBC are three of the world’s largest FX market operators.

Sources have told Reuters that Deutsche Bank – a global, Germany-based banking and financial services provider – had suspended several traders this week in New York.

A spokesperson for the UK’s HSBC also confirmed that two foreign exchange traders had been suspended in London.

According to a person familiar with the matter, the traders are Serge Sarramegna – who had previously headed a foreign exchange desk – and Edward Pinto.

A spokesperson for US-based Citigroup said two foreign exchange traders are now “on leave” due to the internal investigations.

Again, a source familiar with the matter gave names; Anthony John, who works in London, and New York’s Andrew Amantia, and stated the suspension was a result of investigations into chat room communications.

Both men are G10 (the countries which participate in the General Arrangements to Borrow legislation launched in 1962) spot currency traders at Citi.

Also last week, Citi fired Rohan Ramchandani – Head of European spot foreign exchange trading – after a prolonged period of leave, according to a source.

Libor links

The chat rooms where the traders allegedly shared information were also a key feature of the recent probe on the rigging of the London interbank offered rate, a key interest rate.

This prompted several banks including Barclays, Citi and Royal Bank of Scotland to ban their use late last year.

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