October 10, 2018 / 3:00 PM / a month ago

London forex traders to go on trial on U.S. price rigging charges

NEW YORK, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Three former London-based traders are expected to go to trial on Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan on charges they conspired to rig prices in the roughly $5 trillion foreign exchange market.

Chris Ashton, Rohan Ramchandani and Richard Usher, who worked at Barclays Plc, Citigroup Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co, respectively, have all pleaded not guilty to the charges. All three came to the United States voluntarily to face trial.

Lawyers are expected to make opening statements in the case once a jury has been chosen. U.S. prosecutors announced the charges in January 2017.

Ashton was Barclays’ global head of spot currency trading, Ramchandani was Citigroup’s head of G-10 spot currency trading, and Usher had a similar role at JPMorgan, according to court filings by prosecutors.

The case followed worldwide investigations that resulted in about $10 billion in fines for several large banks, and the firing of dozens of traders.

Several others have been charged in the U.S. probe, including Mark Johnson, a former head of foreign exchange cash trading at HSBC Holdings Plc who was sentenced to two years in prison in April after being found guilty by a jury, and former Barclays trader Jason Katz, who pleaded guilty and faces sentencing next year.

Barclays, Citigroup, JPMorgan, BNP Paribas SA, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and UBS Group AG all entered related guilty pleas, and were collectively fined more than $2.8 billion.

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office decided in March 2016 to close its own criminal probe, saying it lacked a “realistic prospect” of obtaining convictions. (Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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