NY Court sides with US govt in evidence spat in FX manipulation case

Maria Nikolova

Judge Berman of the New York Southern District Court has denied the motion for a bill of particulars filed by the defendants, who were part of the so-called FX Cartel.

Judge Berman of the New York Southern District Court today sided with the United States Government in a spat over evidence in a Forex manipulation case.

In a Decision & Order, seen by FinanceFeeds, the Judge denied the Defendants’ letter motion for a bill of particulars and approved the Government’s proposed discovery plan.

The defendants in this case – Richard Usher, Rohan Ramchandani, and Christopher Ashton, are former traders, charged with conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for US Dollars and Euros in the FX spot market. The trio, also known as the “Forex Mafia” and the “FX Cartel” had earlier demanded a “bill of particulars”, a list of written questions from one party to another asking for details (particulars) about a claim or defense. The defendants had argued that they need information about the trades underlying each alleged manipulation episode to defend against the allegations of coordinated trading. Also, they wanted the US government to provide them with this information before December 1, 2017.

In response, the Government asked the Court to reject the Defendants’ requests for a bill of particulars and for the Government to provide specificity for all of the many thousands of episodes of collusive trading that took place during the entire five-year run of the conspiracy, whether or not those episodes will be discussed at trial, as well as for the Government to provide the specifics on a much earlier timetable. A bill of particulars was seen as unwarranted by the Government because the Indictment provides factual background and a clear statement of the alleged collusive agreement.

Today, the Court agreed with the US Government. In the Decision & Order, the Court states it finds that a bill of particulars is unnecessary in these circumstances because “a bill of particulars is not necessary where the government [makes] sufficient disclosures concerning its evidence and witnesses by other means.”

Under the Government’s discovery proposal, Defendants would obtain the trading data either two weeks after the Court provides its opinion and order on dispositive motions or March 1, 2018, that is, 95 days prior to trial, whichever is earlier. The Government would also update the trading data on May 3, 2018, that is, 32 days prior to trial.

The Government’s proposal is, in the Court’s view, reasonable.

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, have pleaded not guilty.

The trial is scheduled for June 4, 2018.

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