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“FX Mafia” defendants call on US government to release info

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A trio of individuals accused of foreign exchange market manipulation have issued a call for the US government to act over what they say is a crucial piece of missing evidence.

Richard Usher, Rohan Ramchandani and Christopher Ashton are looking for the American government to ask foreign regulatory bodies to release statements made by the US government’s witness.

It has already allowed the defendants to see the statement made by the witness to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (or the ACCC). But the trio of defendants, who are often known either as the “FX Mafia” or the “FX Cartel”, say that they also want to know what the government witness said to a range of other bodies, including the UK Serious Fraud Office (or SFO). And the three also allege that other statements from the witness, including ones provided to the Brazilian and Korean governments, are in existence.

The three defendants, all of whom are former traders, believe the evidence could be used in their defence. As a result, the defendants have issued a letter, which was released to press outlets, to call for the evidence to be obtained. Addressed to Judge Richard M. Berman, who sits on New York Southern District Court, the letter alleges that the American government has so far not asked the foreign organisations for the information, and that it ought to do this in the interests of justice.

While the exact contents of the witness’ statement to the international regulators are not known, it is believed that it contains details about his own trading practices which led to those regulators making the choice not to prosecute.

The trial has already been significant for the forex trading world, even before the row over the statements broke out. According to the allegations, the three traders “participated in a combination and conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition”.

The allegations focus specifically on the buying and selling of the EUR/USD pair, and the indictment against them covers alleged activity both in America and in other countries. The trio were involved in “fixing, stabilizing, maintaining, increasing, and decreasing the price of, and rigging bids and offers for, EUR/USD in the FX Spot Market,” it goes on. The defendants were all traders themselves, and all three worked on the EUR/USD pair.

Richard Usher was employed by a company affiliated with the Royal Bank of Scotland between 2004 and 2010, where he was Head of G11 FX Trading-UK. In 2010 he moved to an affiliate of JPMorgan Chase and worked there until 2013.

Christopher Ashton, meanwhile, worked for a company which was affiliated with Barclays between 2011 and 2015, where he was Head of Spot FX.

And the final defendant, Rohan Ramchandani, was affiliated with a branch of Citicorp for an entire decade between 2004 and 2014. He served as a Managing Director and was also head of G10 FX spot trading.

The three attempted to have the case thrown out last year. But earlier this year Judge Berman announced that he was denying their request, and the trial is now going ahead.