Plaintiffs in Forex benchmark rate fixing lawsuit want to take testimony from “Cartel” members

Maria Nikolova

The plaintiffs in a case targeting top banks like HSBC, Citi and JPMorgan, want to take the depositions of the participants in the “Cartel” chatroom.

Shortly after a Jury at the New York Southern District Court returned a “not guilty” verdict for the three former traders accused of manipulating the FX market, the plaintiffs in a Forex benchmark rate fixing lawsuit have stated their plans to take depositions of these traders.

On Friday, October 26th, Richard Usher, Rohan Ramchandani, and Christopher Ashton were acquitted of Forex market rigging. The three traders were discharged and any bond exonerated.

On that same day, the plaintiffs in another case at the New York Southern District Court filed a motion with the Court referring to the verdict rendered in the “Cartel” case. The motion seeks a pre-motion conference to take the depositions of the participants in the “Cartel” chatroom; namely, Messers Matthew Gardiner (the Government’s chief witness in the “Cartel” case), Christopher Ashton, Richard Usher, and Rohan Ramchandani.

Let’s recall that the Forex benchmark rate fixing case, captioned Nypl v. JP Morgan Chase & Co. et al (1:15-cv-09300), was brought on behalf of a putative class of consumers and end-user businesses alleging that they paid inflated Forex rates caused by an alleged conspiracy among some of the US top banks to fix prices of FX benchmark rates in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. sec. 1 et seq.

In September this year, Judge Lorna G. Schofield of the New York Southern District Court sided with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and extended the discovery stay to December 13, 2018.

Under the terms of the order, depositions and interviews of current and former employees of Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, RBS, UBS, BNP Paribas, and HSBC, are stayed. The stay bars depositions of signatories to the May 2015 corporate plea agreements, which plaintiff counsel in the case at hand has proposed to take.

On Friday, October 26th, the plaintiffs in the Nypl case requested a pre-motion conference to lift and vacate the stay of the Court’s Order of September 25, 2018, which prohibited the Nypl plaintiffs from taking the depositions of the signatories to the Plea Agreements and Deferred Prosecution Agreement (and/or other witnesses competent to testify to the substance of the Pleas at trial).

Whether the Court will grant the request with regard to the “Cartel” traders and the lifting of the stay remains to be seen.

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