Brazil names 30 traders at major international banks in ‘cartel’ and ‘mafia’ investigation

Authorities in Brazil have issued a list of names which comprises thirty traders from major financial institutions, as part of the increasing effort by the nation to stem malpractice in the interbank FX market.

The individuals concerned, and the institution that they represent are as follows:

Ex-RBS and JP Morgan trader Richard Usher; Barclays and ex-UBS trader Chris Ashton; Mr Ashton’s colleague and former RBS worker Michael Weston; Mark Clark, who also worked with Mr Ashton at Barclays; Citi’s former European head of spot trading Rohan Ramchandani; Paul Nash, from RBS; former UBS and Standard Chartered worker Matthew Gardiner; Mr Gardiner’s former boss at UBS Niall O’Riordan; and Eduardo Hargreaves from Standard Chartered.

The Telegraph reported yesterday that Brazilian competition authority CADE, an abbreviation for Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica in Portuguese, which translates into the Administrative Council for Economic Defence, had stated that it is looking into the possibility that traders shared competitively sensitive information in chatrooms with the aim of fixing prices to make bigger profits, to the detriment of customers.

Such information could include details of client orders, as well as trading strategies, the regulator said. Cade said it is looking at activity in forex markets between 2007 and 2013.

It noted that some of the traders used online chat groups with names such as “the cartel” and “the mafia”.

“The anti-competitive practices have direct and indirect effects in the Brazilian territory and allowed participants to conduct operators to position themselves better to make a profit and avoid/minimize losses to the detriment of customers,” CADE said.

CADE issued a public announcement stating that its fiscal penalties for individual traders range between 50,000 reals to 2bn reals which equates to a range of £10,000 to £400 million, and any bank which is found to have contravened the competition laws could face a penalty of between 0.1% and 20% of its gross revenues from the previous year. The authority lists HSBC, Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, UBS, JP Morgan and Standard Chartered in its statement along with other institutions.

Brazil names 30 traders at major international banks in 'cartel' and 'mafia' investigation

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