All Persons who, between January 1, 2003 and present, entered into an FX Instrument directly with a Defendant, or a Released Party, at or around the time of the fixing of (i) the WM/Reuters fixing rates, including the 4:00 p.m. London closing spot rate; (ii) the European Central Bank FX reference rates, including the ECB rate set at 1:15 p.m. London time; or (iii) any other FX benchmark, fixing, or reference rate (collectively, the “FX Benchmark Rates”), or who entered into an FX Instrument directly with a Defendant, or a Released Party, settled in whole or in part on the basis of any such FX Benchmark Rates, where such Persons were either domiciled in the United States or its territories or, if domiciled outside the United States or its territories, transacted FX Instruments in the United States or its territories. Specifically excluded from the Class are Defendants; the officers, directors, or employees of any Defendant; any entity in which any Defendant has a controlling interest; any affiliate, legal representative, heir, or assign of any Defendant and any person acting on their behalf. Also excluded from the Class are any judicial officer presiding over this action and the members of his/her immediate family and judicial staff, and any juror assigned to this Action.
FX Benchmark Rates: (i) the WM/Reuters fixing rates, including the 4:00 p.m. London closing spot rate; (ii) the European Central Bank FX reference rates, including the ECB rate set at 1:15 p.m., London time; and (iii) any other FX benchmark, fixing, or reference rate. FX Instruments: FX spot transactions, outright forwards, FX swaps, options, or any other instrument the trading of which is related in any way to FX rates. FX Trading: The trading of FX Instruments regardless of the manner in which such trading occurs or is undertaken.
The Foreign Exchange Benchmark Rates Antitrust Litigation alleges that the world’s largest banks conspired to manipulate prices paid in the $5.3-trillion-per-day foreign exchange market from 2003 to present. The case is currently pending before Judge Lorna G. Schofield in the Southern District of New York. This lawsuit alleges that these banks colluded to manipulate FX benchmark rates – the WM/Reuters rates – at the expense of their counterparties. These rates have significant influence in the $5.3 trillion-a-day FX market and are based on actual trades in the FX market.
Plaintiffs allege that the Defendant banks colluded in order to manipulate the WM/Reuters Closing Spot Rates in three ways. First, the FX traders allegedly manipulated the rates by “front-running” client trades, whereby the traders colluded with one another to execute a series of trades just prior to 4:00 pm GMT in order to drive up the prices of the currencies their customers were interested in buying and thereafter purchasing the currencies that their customers sold at a less-than-favorable rate. Second, the FX traders allegedly engaged in a “banging the close” strategy in which they coordinated with one another to make a large number of trades in a manner that exerted the most possible pressure on the WM/Reuters Closing Spot Rates (i.e., buying or selling client orders in installments rather than all at once). Finally, the FX traders allegedly hid their collusion by “painting the screen,” whereby they placed orders with one another to have the rate move in the desired direction only to reverse these trades after the rate was calculated. In addition to the private lawsuit, numerous governmental authorities are investigating the banks’ conduct in the FX market, including the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal and Antitrust Divisions; the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”); the U.S. Office of Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”); the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”); U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (“UK-FCA”); the European Commission (“EC”); the Swiss Competition Commission (“WEKO”); the Swiss FINMA; Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (“BaFin”); the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“SGMA”); the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (“ASIC”); the New Zealand Commerce Commission (“NZ-CC”); and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (“HKMA”).
Settlements totaling more than $2.3 billion have been reached with Bank of America, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citi, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan, RBS, and UBS, Deutsche Bank AG, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Morgan Stanley, Morgan Stanley & Co., LLC, Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Société Générale S.A., and Standard Chartered plc. The is only one remaining non-settling defendant: Credit Suisse Group AG, Credit Suisse AG, Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC otherwise known as Credit Suisse.