Former JPMorgan Trader Found Guilty of Rigging Currency Markets

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(Bloomberg) A former JPMorgan Chase & Co. banker was convicted of conspiring with traders at other banks to rig bids and fix prices in currency markets — a victory for prosecutors in their campaign against collusion in foreign exchange.

A federal jury in New York on Wednesday took less than four hours to find Akshay Aiyer guilty of a single count of conspiracy to violate antitrust laws, following a trial that lasted more than two weeks.

He’s the second person to be convicted in a crackdown on dubious practices used by currency traders and faces as long as a decade in prison and a $1 million fine when he is sentenced on April 3.

Prosecutors had relied on testimony from two alleged conspirators, former Citigroup trader Christopher Cummins and ex-Barclays banker Jason Katz, who pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Cummins and Katz testified that the traders plotted in chat rooms, on the phone and at social gatherings to rig trades while leading customers to believe that they were actually competing with each other.

Banks around the world have paid more than $10 billion in penalties for misconduct in the currency markets since the crackdown began. Citigroup Inc., Barclays Plc, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and JPMorgan Chase pleaded guilty in 2015 to rigging currency rates and agreed to pay about $2.5 billion to the Justice Department as part of an overall $5.8 billion settlement with multiple regulators.

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