Standard Chartered FX trader Gardiner resigns - source

LONDON, March 26 Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:45am EDT

LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) - A senior currency dealer at Standard Chartered, who was put on leave last year as regulators investigated allegations of global currency market rigging, has resigned from the bank, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Matt Gardiner worked at Swiss bank UBS AG for two years. He moved to Standard Chartered last September but was placed on leave a month later. A source at Standard Chartered said the move was "completely unrelated" to his activities after joining the British bank.

Gardiner could not be reached for comment, and spokesmen for both Standard Chartered and UBS declined to comment.

Authorities including the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and watchdogs in Germany and Switzerland are examining allegations of collusion between senior traders at big banks to manipulate benchmark currency rates.

London is the hub of the global currency market, accounting for some 40 percent of the $5.3 trillion traded on an average day.

The key London benchmark, known as the WM/Reuters fix, relates to several exchange rates including the euro, sterling, Swiss franc and yen. These are compiled using data from Thomson Reuters and other providers, and are calculated by WM Company, a unit of State Street Corp, and are important because they are used as reference rates for trillions of dollars worth of investments, trade and corporate deals around the world.

Around 25 traders have been put on leave, suspended or fired by some of the world's biggest banks as the probe gathered pace, and the Bank of England has suspended an employee as it conducts its own investigation too.

No trader, bank or institution has been accused of any wrongdoing.

The source did not say why Gardiner had quit.

UBS approached U.S. authorities in September with information relating to the market rigging allegations, in the hope of gaining antitrust immunity if charged with wrongdoing, sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters. (Reporting by Jamie McGeever; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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