Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law

Competition: Spring 2020, Vol 30, No. 1

THE ROAD TO ACQUITTAL: TAKEAWAYS FROM U.S. V USHER, ETAL.

By Niall E. Lynch1

By the time the U.S. Department of Justice took three former London-based foreign currency exchange traders to trial for felony violation of the Sherman Act, the agency had already gathered billions of dollars in fines from banks for the manipulation of foreign currency exchange rates. The case against the three traders is US v. Usher, et al., Crim. No.1:17-cr-00019.

Under the Indictment, from at least as early as December 2007 and continuing at least through January 2013, the defendants and their co-conspirators participated in a combination and conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition for the purchase and sale of EUR/USD in the United States and elsewhere by fixing the price of, and rigging bids and offers for, EUR/USD in the FX spot market.

Richard Usher, former Head of G11 FX Trading-UK at an affiliate of Royal Bank of Scotland plc, as well as former Managing Director at an affiliate of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Rohan Ramchandani, former Managing Director and head of G10 FX spot trading at an affiliate of Citicorp, and Christopher Ashton, former Head of Spot FX at an affiliate of Barclays PLC, were alleged to have conspired to manipulate the FX market by "coordinating their bidding, offering, and trading" at "certain times."2

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