Plaintiffs in FX rate fixing case oppose DOJ’s request for yet another stay extension

Maria Nikolova

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit targeting some of the world’s major banks argue that the stays have made it virtually impossible for them to prepare their case against the defendants.

The plaintiffs in a Forex benchmark rate fixing lawsuit targeting some of the US major banks like Citi, HSBC and JPMorgan, have opposed the latest request by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for a discovery stay extension. The relevant motion was submitted on July 10, 2019, with the New York Southern District Court.

Let’s recall that, less than a fortnight ago, the DOJ requested a three-month extension of the limited discovery stay of certain depositions and interviews in the matter. The Department said that the stay was necessary given the upcoming trial and appeal in two FX-related cases:

  • United States v. Aiyer, 18-cr-333, is set for trial before Judge Koeltl of the Southern District of New York on October 21, 2019.
  • United States v. Johnson, 18-1503-cr, is on appeal to the Second Circuit. The case is fully briefed and was argued on May 31, 2019.

In their response filed on Wednesday, the plaintiffs – consumers and end-user businesses alleging that they paid inflated Forex rates caused by an alleged conspiracy among the defendant banks to fix prices of FX benchmark rates, argue the stay extension should not be granted.

The plaintiffs note that this is the tenth piecemeal stay sought by the DOJ in this case.

Due to these piecemeal stays, the plaintiffs say, it has been very difficult, if not impossible, for them to plan, manage, schedule, or prepare their case against the defendants. According to the plaintiffs, the prejudice to them has been manifest, and indeed used against them implying that the stays have delayed the prosecution of their case.

The plaintiffs request that the Court order a time certain in which they can begin to take depositions. It has been more than three years since the plaintiffs in this case served their first Notices of Deposition. According to them, without such an Order, the DOJ will simply file every three-months.

The plaintiffs, “as the victims of these confessed violators of the Antitrust Laws”, argue that the requested stay should be denied, and that they should be allowed to take the depositions of the signatories of the Plea Agreements and the Deferred Prosecution Agreement, and to prosecute their case in the normal course.

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