By Rachel Armstrong and Jamie McGeever
HONG KONG/LONDON Oct 16 Hong Kong is looking
into allegations of price-rigging in the $5.3 trillion-a-day
global foreign exchange market as probes into possible currency
rate manipulation widen from Europe and the United States to
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority said on Wednesday that it
had spoken to foreign regulators and was speaking to banks about
allegations that traders manipulated fixings, or snapshots of
where currencies are trading at a particular time in the
24-hour-a-day global market.
Switzerland, Britain and the United States have already
"The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is aware of the
allegations. We have been in communications with the relevant
overseas regulators and following up with individual banks," the
de facto central bank said in a statement to Reuters.
Switzerland's competition commission WEKO and its financial
markets regulator FINMA said earlier this month that they had
opened investigations into potential manipulation of foreign
exchange markets by banks. They did not name the banks under
Last week, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters
the United States was also involved in the probe.
(ID:nL1N0I111N) Until now, no Asian authority has confirmed it
is also involved in the investigations.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) has already handed Britain's
financial regulator instant messages sent by a former currency
trader to counterparts at other banks, Reuters reported last
According to one banking source at one of the biggest FX
banks in the world, "every bank" has handed data and other
"It's a two-way flow of information," said a source at a
U.S. bank, also one of the world's major FX institutions.
Media reports this week suggest the investigations centre on
senior traders at big banks who were part of electronic
chatrooms with names such as "The Cartel" and "The Bandits'
Senior traders at certain banks involved in this process are
alleged to have shared information with each other ahead of the
fixings, such as the size and nature of their clients' orders,
in order to manipulate the fixing rate and make money.
Britain's Financial Conduct Authority has declined to
comment, as did Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) and JP Morgan
(JPM.N), while Citigroup's (C.N) chief financial officer John
Gerspach declined to comment during a conference call with
reporters on Tuesday.