Berman Tabacco

Forex Antitrust

In re Foreign Exchange Benchmark Rates Antitrust Litigation, No. 1:13-cv-07789-LGS (S.D.N.Y.)

Berman Tabacco represents Fresno County Employees’ Retirement Association as a named plaintiff in a class action alleging that the world’s largest banks conspired to fix prices in the foreign exchange market in violation of the federal antitrust laws. The alleged conspiracy impacted over-the-counter foreign exchange (“FX”) transactions with the defendant banks and impacted FX futures and options traded on exchanges.

This class action lawsuit alleges that these banks colluded to fix the prices of FX transactions on twenty-one leading currency pairs and manipulate key benchmark rates that influence or determine the pricing of those FX transactions. In particular, the action alleges that influential traders at the defendant banks used secret chatrooms to agree on plans to flood the market with specific currency trades at 4 p.m. London time (London Close), and thereby artificially move the rate at the London Close in a way that raised the cost of currency for their customers but aided the banks’ own investments. The complaint alleges that the traders’ manipulation created dramatic surges in trading and spikes in currency prices around the one-minute interval surrounding the London Close, and even small distortions in foreign exchange rates can cost an investment fund tens of millions of dollars a year.

To date, proposed settlements of more than $2 billion have been reached on behalf of U.S. investors. The plaintiffs are continuing to prosecute claims against the remaining defendant banks.