Plaintiffs in Forex benchmark rate fixing case clash with DOJ over proposed stay

Maria Nikolova

The plaintiffs insist that the request by the DOJ for another extension of the discovery stay amounts to a “piecemeal lingchi”.

Several days after the Department of Justice (DOJ) requested another stay extension in a Forex benchmark rate manipulation lawsuit targeting major banks like Citi, HSBC and JPMorgan, the plaintiffs in the case have filed a Letter in opposition to the DOJ’s request.

The plaintiffs’ Letter, submitted at the New York Southern District Court late last week, insists that the Court has to deny the DOJ’s request, seeking to prohibit the plaintiffs from taking the depositions of the signatories of the guilty Plea Agreements and Non-Prosecution Agreements, entered on May 20, 2015 (USA v. Barclays Plc; Citicorp; JP Morgan Chase & Co.; Royal Bank Of Scotland Plc, and USA v. UBS AG).

The plaintiffs argue that this is the 7th stay sought by the DOJ, a piecemeal lingchi (a death by thousand cuts – Ed.) resulting in the substantial and unnecessary prejudice to the plaintiffs.

The reasons given for the stay – that there is a pending appeal and a trial in other cases, the plaintiffs note, does not even attempt to tell this Court, secretly or otherwise, how the DOJ would be, or could be, prejudiced in any way by allowing the plaintiffs to take the depositions. Further, the DOJ is said to have no legal right to stall, delay, and hinder these plaintiffs from the prosecution of their case.

Finally, the plaintiffs argue that the prejudice to them – that the four-year delay in their case risks losing witnesses is real – is not in any way countered by any perceived prejudice to the DOJ.

The 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 the defendant 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.

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