Wells Fargo objects to NY Court order for deposition of its former Head of FX Trading

Maria Nikolova

Wells Fargo insists that the subpoena for Simon Fowles implicates materials belonging to the bank that are sensitive or confidential.

Wells Fargo appears to be displeased with an Order issued by the New York Southern District Court last week regarding its former Head of FX Trading Simon Fowles being deposed in a Forex benchmark rate fixing case.

In the face of Mr Fowles’ objections, the Court ruled that the deposition must take place on November 28, 2018. The Court, however, allowed the filing of additional objections. Wells Fargo filed a Letter of objection on Friday, November 23, 3018.

The bank argues, inter alia, that the subpoena for Mr Fowles, seeks information that is irrelevant to the subject matter of the case, is not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of relevant evidence, and will impose a burden on Wells Fargo (and Mr. Fowles) that is not substantially proportional to any potential benefit to this litigation. Let’s recall that the plaintiffs launched this putative class action under the Sherman Antitrust Act, alleging that they paid inflated foreign currency exchange rates caused by an alleged conspiracy among JP Morgan, Bank of America, HSBC, Citibank, UBS AG, Barclays PLC, and Royal Bank of Scotland PLC to fix prices in Forex market.

According to the plaintiffs, “Wells Fargo Bank per Thomas Kiefer was an active participant in the FX chat rooms in this case”. And since Simon Fowles was the Head of FX Trading at Wells Fargo Bank, he has to give testimony.

Wells Fargo notes that it is a not a defendant in this case. The bank stresses that it has not been implicated in any of the regulatory or enforcement actions related to the plaintiffs’ claims. According to Wells Fargo, Mr Fowles’s testimony has potential relevance only insofar as it might shed light on the conduct of foreign exchange traders at financial institutions other than Wells Fargo, i.e., the defendant banks in this action. Plaintiffs cannot show that Mr. Fowles even potentially has knowledge relevant to those issues, the bank insists.

Furthermore, according to Wells Fargo, the subpoena potentially implicates information or materials belonging to Wells Fargo that are sensitive or confidential.

The case is captioned Nypl v. JP Morgan Chase & Co. et al (1:15-cv-09300).

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