DOJ changes tactics shortly before start of FX Cartel trial

Maria Nikolova

The US Government no longer seeks to introduce evidence of import commerce at trial.

Several days before the scheduled start of the trial of Richard Usher, Rohan Ramchandani, and Christopher Ashton, the former Forex traders also known as “FX Cartel” or “FX Mafia”, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has changed its tactics.

According to a Letter, sent by the Government to the Honorable Richard Berman of the New York Southern District Court on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, the Government plans to withdraw a part of its theory from trial.

Let’s recall that, under the Indictment, from at least as early as December 2007 and continuing at least through January 2013, the defendants and their co-conspirators, participated in a combination and conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition for the purchase and sale of EUR/USD in the United States and elsewhere by fixing, stabilizing, maintaining, increasing, and decreasing the price of, and rigging bids and offers for, EUR/USD in the FX Spot Market. The combination and conspiracy engaged in by Defendants and their co-conspirators unreasonably restrained interstate and U.S. import trade and commerce in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act.

The Letter from the Government states that it no longer seeks to introduce evidence of import commerce at trial. The Government notes that it could prove at trial, that the defendants’ conduct involved and affected import commerce. However, the Government believes such proof is unnecessary to meet its burden and this change will help streamline facts and arguments in the upcoming trial.

The Government’s decision has no impact on the scope of the charged crime, the Letter stresses.

In response to the Government’s Letter, the defendants stated that the “eleventh-hour change raises significant Fifth Amendment concerns”. They said the Government’s abandonment of the import commerce theory may have caused a constructive amendment of the Indictment.

The case is captioned USA v. Usher et al (1:17-cr-00019).

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