Indian-origin ex-currency trader indicted in American anti-trust conspiracy
New York: An Indian-origin former currency trader at a major US bank has been indicted for his alleged role in a conspiracy to manipulate prices in the foreign currency exchange market, the Justice Department has said.
Akshay Aiyer was charged in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York with conspiring to fix prices and rig bids and offers in Central and Eastern European, Middle Eastern, and African (CEEMEA) currencies, which were traded against the US dollar and the euro at the currency exchange (FX) market.
The charge in the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a USD 1 million fine.
According to the indictment, from at least as early as October 2010 through July 2013, Aiyer, along with other New York-based CEEMEA traders working for rival banks, participated in a conspiracy designed to suppress competition in order to increase each trader's profits and decrease each other's losses.
Aiyer and his co-conspirators carried out this agreement by engaging in near-daily conversations through private electronic chat rooms, telephone calls, and text messages, in which they exchanged trading positions, confidential customer information, planned pricing for customer orders, and other categories of competitively sensitive information.
The accused and his co-conspirators then used this information to coordinate their live trading in CEEMEA currencies, including, at times, by certain traders refraining from trading against the others.
Throughout the conspiracy, Aiyer and his co-conspirators took affirmative steps to conceal their anti-competitive behaviour.
"As today's indictment demonstrates, the Antitrust Division remains committed to holding individuals accountable for anti-competitive conduct that violates the integrity of global financial markets," said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division.
In addition, in January last year, another Indian-origin man Rohan Ramchandani, a former UK-based trader for a major bank - was indicted for conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for the euro-US dollar currency pair. PTI