FX Cartel traders want to delay start of trial, as case materials reach nearly 30 million pages

Maria Nikolova

The US government has turned over millions of electronic chats, emails, and other documents spanning nearly 30 million pages, as well as raw data representing literally hundreds of millions of FX trades.

Richard Usher, Rohan Ramchandani, and Christopher Ashton, also known as the “FX Cartel” or “FX Mafia” are seeking to reschedule the start of the trial against them at the New York Southern District Court based on the ballooning volume of evidence that the defense has to process.

On Friday, January 19, 2018, the defendants in the case captioned USA v. Usher et al (1:17-cr-00019), sent a Letter to Judge Richard M. Berman, asking him to move the start of the trial from June 4, 2018 to October 1, 2018. The request for delay, according to the defendants, reflects “the staggering amount of recently-produced discovery”.

The defendants estimate that at the time of the last status conference on November 9, 2017, the United States government had produced nearly 800,000 records totaling 8.2 million pages. In the last two months, the government has produced an estimated 2.2 million additional records totaling 21.4 million pages. The government has turned over millions of electronic chats, emails, and other documents spanning nearly 30 million pages, as well as raw data representing literally hundreds of millions of FX trades. The government has also produced an estimated 270,000 audio files totaling 4,388 hours of recorded audio. These audio files are not accompanied by transcriptions.

The defendants argue that reviewing the recently-produced discovery is simply incompatible with the current trial date.

Moreover, the government has not produced any of the statements made by its “star witness” to foreign authorities and has said that it is still awaiting further information from its cooperating witnesses. Although the defendants hope to resolve this issue directly with the government, this process has already taken almost three months.

In November 2017, the defendants asked the Court to compel the US Government to help them access statements by the chief witness to the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Australia Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), and Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC). The defendants emphasize the importance of this evidence to the defense: The Cooperating Witness has provided statements (including in certain circumstances, we understand, sworn statements under oath) to the three regulators and those regulators subsequently found no antitrust violations in the same conduct at issue here—with the SFO explaining that “a detailed review of the available evidence led us to the conclusion that the alleged conduct, even if proven and taken at its highest, would not meet the evidential test required to mount a prosecution.”

According to the defendants, these facts suggest that the Cooperating Witness’s testimony contains exculpatory and impeaching statements.

Usher, former Head of G11 FX Trading-UK at an affiliate of Royal Bank of Scotland plc, as well as former Managing Director at an affiliate of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Ramchandani, former Managing Director and head of G10 FX spot trading at an affiliate of Citicorp, and Ashton, former Head of Spot FX at an affiliate of Barclays PLC, are alleged to have conspired to manipulate the FX market by “coordinating their bidding, offering, and trading” at “certain times.”

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