Exclusive: U.S. prosecutors to interview London FX traders - sources

Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:33am EST
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By Jamie McGeever and Aruna Viswanatha

LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors will travel to London in the coming weeks to interview traders about currency market manipulation, the latest sign that authorities are closer to filing criminal charges stemming from the long-running probe, sources told Reuters.

Officials from the U.S. Department of Justice will interview current or former employees at HSBC Holdings plc, (HSBA.L: Quote) among other banks, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The plans to interview traders from HSBC do not necessarily indicate that prosecutors will file criminal charges against the bank or its employees, sources said, noting it is common for prosecutors to speak to witnesses in any criminal investigation. HSBC declined to comment.

The authorities have given banks under investigation until mid-December to turn over related information, one source said. JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote), Citigroup Inc (C.N: Quote), UBS AG UBSN.VX, and others have disclosed that they are under criminal investigation in the foreign exchange probe.

A Justice Department spokesman declined comment, as did representatives of the banks.

The interviews come soon after U.S., Swiss, and British civil authorities fined those banks and others $4.3 billion for failing to stop traders from trying to manipulate the largely unregulated $5-trillion-a-day foreign exchange market.

The fines brought total penalties for benchmark manipulation to more than $10 billion over two years.

The Justice Department is undertaking a broad probe into whether banks have been colluding to move currency rates and boost their profits in trading, violating fraud or antitrust laws. Prosecutors are also looking at whether traders misled clients.   Continued...

A Citibank sign is reflected in a puddle in the City of London November 12, 2014.       REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth