Three "Cartel" FX Traders Criminally Charged With Currency Rigging

Tyler Durden's picture

Moments ago, U.S. prosecutors charged three traders who made up the infamous "Cartel" currency rigging chat room, and who were at the heart of a criminal investigation that has ensnared the world’s biggest banks over the rigging of currency rates. Richard Usher, formerly head of G10 spot trading at JPMorgan, Rohan Ramchandani, formerly of Citigroup and Chris Ashton, formerly of Barclays, were indicted Tuesday for conspiring to fix prices. They’re all outside the U.S. and will have to be extradited unless they surrender voluntarily.

Richard Usher

As first reported back in 2013 when the FX rigging scandal broke out, the three used an online chatroom they dubbed ‘The Cartel’ to coordinate the rigging of foreign-exchange benchmarks by sharing confidential customer information, according to the U.S. charge. Another member, Matt Gardiner, formerly of UBS Group AG, has been helping prosecutors build cases against the traders, Bloomberg reported earlier.

Citigroup, Barclays, JPMorgan and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc pleaded guilty in May 2015 to conspiring to rig currency rates. UBS Group AG received immunity from prosecution, but its conduct breached an earlier agreement over its role in manipulating benchmark interest rates.

The Cartel chatroom ran from at least December 2007 until January 2013, prosecutors have said in court papers. It was limited to specific euro/dollar traders, they said. Many conversations took place just before daily fixes, the brief windows of time when data providers take a snapshot of trading so they can set daily rates.

As Bloomberg noted previously, the charges make good on the government’s long-running promise it would hold individuals to account in the case. As far back as September 2014, then-Attorney General Eric Holder said charges against traders were imminent.

Those efforts were hampered by issues of evidence and lack of cooperators, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg last year. Bloomberg published a series of articles in 2013 exposing how the world’s biggest banks were colluding to rig foreign exchange rates.


Some prosecutions are moving forward. Over the past six months, two currency traders were charged and a third pleaded guilty to rigging allegations. This summer, Gardiner and Ashton were banned from the U.S. banking industry for life by the Federal Reserve, which also imposed a $1.2 million fine on Ashton.

Unlike the US, the U.K. Serious Fraud Office dropped its investigation into currency rigging last year citing insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction. The agency interviewed 19 individuals as part of its probe, according to a freedom-of-information request by Bloomberg in August, including four under caution. Interviews under caution generally mean the person is being treated as a suspect.

Some more details from Bloomberg for those unfamiliar with the story:

Citigroup, Barclays, JPMorgan and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc pleaded guilty in the U.S. in May 2015 to conspiring to rig currency rates. UBS received immunity from prosecution in the currency case, but its conduct breached an earlier agreement over its role in manipulating benchmark interest rates.


During the banks’ Jan. 5 sentencing, a federal judge in Connecticut urged the Justice Department to pursue individuals in the cases.


"Mischief will be best deterred if the people responsible are not only fired but that any compensation made to them that was triggered by the wrongful conduct, for example bonuses, are clawed back or disgorged," U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill said. "Frankly I would encourage the government to consider prosecution of individuals.”

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Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Yup. Just these three stooges and no one else. Nothing else to see here. Move along.

Bastiat's picture

A few bad apples. Justice triumphs!

beemasters's picture

Soros got usual. Perhaps he's the snitch, trying to kill the competitions here.

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

As my beloved silver looks for a 17 handle..


OK guys, kabuki theater over. Regulators did their jobs. Now back to hammering old ladies who only take cash at their cafes for structuring.

Nobodys Home's picture

I heard they turned down the heat on structuring. Maybe I'm wrong.

Funny. In the past I'd deposit a large chunk of cash from my biweekly paycheck into my gals account to pay bills as I had no bank account. (just trying to do my part of not feeding the beast)...

I was sure they'd come after her for structuring. I was ridiculously paranoid about it. They never did.
Of course there was no reason to, but hey...why not? Take all the money and make us prove them wrong (after a huge legal bill)

Times have changed and it's no longer an issue for us. Not that it ever really was. I was just paranoid. I'm all better now :)

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

Let's face it, it's used as a weapon like all other laws in the US and Canada.

MJ4Vets's picture

The Federal Reserve, and i mean all players for the full Statute of Limitations,  are who WE want.

Sudden Debt's picture



If only they parked their car in a handicap zone or drove through a red light...

MrBoompi's picture

If they have relatively low level positions with those banks, they will be sacrificed while the laughter ensues in the boardroom.  

HermanVanCuckold's picture

Still waiting for the charges to be filed on the gold riggers. Death to the money changers ...

groaner's picture
groaner (not verified) Jan 10, 2017 4:57 PM

That's a start,, now go after the FED and all the wall street banks... with a jewish name.


barysenter's picture

Stall stall stall, delay delay delay, grease until the statute runs out


After throwing the book at them, on appeal quietly let the oddfellows out the back door


Israel has no extradition for its bestest friend in the hole world.

Joebloinvestor's picture

The UK stopped manufacturing anything of substance and turned into a financial "hub" ruled by misconduct and malfeasance by regulators.


o r c k's picture

You meant to say "ruled by Muslims" I believe.

scoutshonor's picture

The Cartel chatroom ran from at least December 2007 until January 2013, prosecutors have said in court papers.~


I guess it's like: "when second count the cops are only minutes away"

Except in this case it's rigged markets and 5 or 6 years.  Way not to break a sweat guys--are your mothers even proud of you?

rockstone's picture

They didn't miss my firm's alleged mishandling of customer info via email. Nobody lost any money, no one stole any money, nothing happened. But they were here!! It took them 6 months to say, "Nothing happened. And don't let it happen again."

Joebloinvestor's picture

In a fair and justice driven world, these three would be executed.


They did more damage then any serial murderer.

bardot63's picture

I volunteer my wood chipper for the job.......

LoveTruth's picture

Gold and the stock market have been rigged for the whole of last year, but they can't go after the FED.

WillyGroper's picture

low level sacrifices.

will we soon see some new enrollees in the chuteless flying classes to apease the gods...uh reptiles?

Barb Dwire's picture

Remind me again why any of these markets have fixes. They exist only to rig prices and fleece the sheep.

skeelos's picture

Obama is so angry at those banks that he's imposing more sanctions against Russia as punishment.

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) Jan 10, 2017 5:33 PM

In the mean time Corzine steals more than a billion and gets bitch-slapped with a $5 million dollar fine.

Justice? Where? All I see are scammers scamming and getting away with it.

turnball the banker's picture
turnball the banker (not verified) HRH Feant Jan 10, 2017 6:19 PM

Corzine is jewish

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

libor was at the correct rates, & PM's price fix as within accepted range, .. that  one shalom bernanke and the Fed felt was perfect..the joke is this is your fed and Central banks across the globe, in if libor was at 5% well things would have bad for all central banks..doing god's work. "let my people go"

Mena Arkansas's picture

Not a berg or stein among them. What a shocker.

JailBanksters's picture

There Financial Terrorists, they should be tried as such


bardot63's picture

Gold is a currency.  Gold was manipulated by these fucks or others just like them.   Where is the indictment for rigging the gold price ????

Nobodys Home's picture

I wish they'd rig it back to $35 an ounce!

Nobodys Home's picture

Three bad apples don't spoil the whole car-tel
Oooh, give it one more try before you give up on rates
Three bad apples don't spoil the whole car-tel
Oooh, I don't care what they say I don't care what you've heard now

Nobodys Home's picture

"This summer, Gardiner and Ashton were banned from the U.S. banking industry for life by the Federal Reserve, which also imposed a $1.2 million fine on Ashton."

How is a private institution, "The Fed", able to ban and fine anyone? Am I stupid for asking this? I really don't get it.

Grandad Grumps's picture

To stop the bullshit, CEOs need to go to jail Or maybe be executed China style. Wasn't Immelt in favor of that? It will end then.

libfrog88's picture

How come the banksters are not in jail like the VW exex? Too important to jail? Too many contributions?

Herdee's picture

It's just everyday news now for Banks. They must like getting milked to death by lazy government employess.

o r c k's picture

Why didn't he rig precious metals? More money, and it;s legal.

Calculus99's picture

They never go above the jabronis on the trading floow do they?

The execs all 'know nothing' and are no doubt 'shocked' by what the evil traders on the floor have been doing.