No escape: Former traders face prison, hefty fines over FX manipulation charges in the US

Maria Nikolova

The charge in the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for Richard Usher, Rohan Ramchandani and Christopher Ashton.


The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) announced on Tuesday that a federal grand jury has issued an indictment against three ex-traders at major banks over their alleged participation in a conspiracy to manipulate the FX spot market.

The indictment charges Richard Usher – former Head of G11 FX Trading-UK at an affiliate of The Royal Bank of Scotland plc and former Managing Director at an affiliate of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Rohan Ramchandani – former Managing Director and head of G10 FX spot trading at an affiliate of Citicorp, and Christopher Ashton – former Head of Spot FX at an affiliate of Barclays PLC, with conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for US dollars and euros in the Forex spot market.

The indictment states that, from at least December 2007 through at least January 2013, Usher, Ramchandani and Ashton, formed a part of the so-called “Cartel” or “Mafia”. This group of traders participated in telephone calls and electronic messages to carry out their conspiracy. The anticompetitive behavior included colluding around the time of certain benchmark rates and coordinating their orders and trading to manipulate the price of the currency pair, such as by refraining from entering orders or trading at certain times.

FinanceFeeds has been monitoring the developments around “the Cartel”. In July 2016, FinanceFeeds reported that former UBS FX trader Matthew Gardiner, known as a key participant in the “Cartel”, had agreed to provide information about its activities to US authorities. Back then, officials in the United States voiced their confidence that they will be able to charge individual traders with manipulation of currency markets as a result of Mr. Gardiner’s co-operation. His pseudonym – ‘Fossil’, had come about due to his seniority in age over other traders in ‘the Cartel’.

Regarding the latest indictment Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Bill Baer said yesterday: “We previously secured criminal convictions of the financial institutions involved in the misconduct. Today we seek to hold accountable the individuals who conspired on their behalf.”

The charge in the indictment against Richard Usher, Rohan Ramchandani and Christopher Ashton is merely an allegation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty, the DoJ notes. The charge in the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

The indictment follows the May 20, 2015 agreements of Barclays PLC, Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and The Royal Bank of Scotland plc to plead guilty to conspiring to manipulate prices in the FX spot market. The banks then agreed to pay criminal fines exceeding $2.5 billion.

Read this next

Digital Assets

Luxembourg’s regulator warns on false regulation of Crypto Capital Profits

The regulator of Luxembourg’s financial markets, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF), has warned that a firm claiming to be authorized under the name Crypto Capital Profits is in fact not licensed to carry out business from within its jurisdiction.

Institutional FX

FINRA fines Wedbush $900K over reporting violations

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority continues to take disciplinary actions against financial services firms for providing inaccurate securities trading information.

Digital Assets

Bitkub investigated by Thai regulator in ‘wash trading’ case

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission has targeted Bitkub over allegations of inaccurate reporting and wash trading on its cryptocurrency platform.

Crypto Insider secures approval to launch its services in France has registered its cryptocurrency services with the dual regulatory structure in France, which includes the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) and the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR).

Inside View

How to offer iOS compliant trading apps? Editorial by Chris Rowe

Webtraders are becoming increasingly important for FX and CFD brokers as more and more of their clients are trading using their mobiles. 

Institutional FX

SpiderRock deploys Eventus trade surveillance for futures and options offering

“As we have begun to provide direct market access as a routing broker and grown in our futures offering, which is subject to a different regulator, we wanted to make sure we chose a trade surveillance platform that has all the tools that we need, a format we can review easily, and capabilities to demonstrate to regulators that we have the proper trade surveillance procedures in place. Validus checks all the boxes for us.”

Industry News

Space and Time raises $20 million to grow its decentralized data warehouse

“We look forward to seeing the ways in which Space and Time will allow the business logic in centralized systems to be automated and connected directly to smart contracts.”

Digital Assets

Mastercard, hi app partner to issue cards with NFT avatars

In partnership with Mastercard, crypto and fiat financial app hi is launching what it calls “the world’s first debit card featuring NFT avatar customization.”

Digital Assets

Wirex to support government of Uzbekistan to adopt blockchain

“We’re excited to work alongside the Uzbekistan Direct Investment Fund in order to help the sector thrive, enrich the financial ecosystem there and set a benchmark for other countries, and ultimately expand.”