FX Cartel, US Govt outline questions for jurors as Forex manipulation trial looms closer

Maria Nikolova

Three ex-Forex traders and the US Government present questions seeking to make sure that the prospective jurors deliver a fair and impartial verdict.

The trial against three former Forex traders – Richard Usher, Rohan Ramchandani, and Christopher Ashton, also known as FX Cartel or FX Mafia, is a couple of months away, with formal procedures setting the stage for the trial now being under way.

Earlier today, the defendants and the US Government submitted a document outlining the procedure for the examination of prospective jurors. The parties request that the New York Southern District Court include a set of questions in its examination of prospective jurors. The aim of the questions is to rule out the possible bias of a juror (or a number of jurors) regarding the stance of one of the parties.

Let’s note that although the parties jointly filed the list of proposed questions, there are some questions opposed by the US Government and there are certain questions opposed by the defendants.

The Government objects to the following questions:

  • Do you have any strongly held opinions or feelings about large banks? Such that you would be unable to render a fair and impartial verdict?
  • Do any of you have any opinion about traders at large banks? Such that you would be unable to render a fair and impartial verdict?
  • Do you have any strongly held opinions about the last financial crisis? Such that you would be unable to render a fair and impartial verdict?
  • Do you have any strongly held opinions about the money made by people working in the financial services industry? Such that you would be unable to render a fair and impartial verdict?

The defendants have voiced their objections to the following questions:

  • Do you hold any beliefs, feelings or prejudices against prosecutors in general such that you might hold it against the government in this case? If “Yes,” please explain. (The defendants object to this question, which, according to them, overstates the interests of the Government).
  • The defendants are from a foreign country, and the charges in this case involves acts committed in a foreign country. Does anyone believe that United States laws should not apply to acts committed in another country, if those acts caused harm to competition in the United States? If “Yes,” please explain. (Defendants object to this question, which they say will predispose selected jurors to the Government’s theory of the case, namely that the ex-traders’ foreign conduct harmed competition in the United States.)
  • Under the US constitution, a witness can refuse to testify if the testimony might incriminate him. One or more of the prospective witnesses in this case may have previously signed an agreement to cooperate with the United States in exchange for some benefit, or may have been given immunity for his or her own conduct. Would you give the testimony of this witness greater or lesser weight simply because the witness had entered into such an agreement? If “Yes,” please explain. What if there are documents that corroborate or support the witness’ testimony – would that change your opinion? (Defendants object to this question, which, according to them, improperly previews for potential jurors the Government’s planned witness testimony and will predispose selected jurors to the view that the testimony of the Government’s cooperating witness is credible).

The jurors will be informed that the Indictment charges that the ex-traders entered into an illegal agreement to suppress and eliminate competition for the purchase and sale of Euros and Dollars in the Foreign Exchange market in violation of the Sherman Act, Section 1. The defendants each deny the charge in the Indictment.

Usher is 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 is a former Managing Director and head of G10 FX spot trading at an affiliate of Citicorp, whereas Ashton is former Head of Spot FX at an affiliate of Barclays PLC.

The potential jurors in this case must avoid reading, viewing, or listening to any and all media coverage in any form. They may not use the internet, by any electronic means, for any purpose, including research, as to any aspect of this case. They are forbidden from reading any magazine, newspaper, or printed article about this case, Googling this case (or any of the parties or attorneys) or from emailing, instant messaging, blogging/tweeting about it or talking about it with anyone by computer, cell phone, or any other electronic device.

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

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