Credit Suisse currency rigging claims go before U.S. jury –

Oct 19 (Reuters) – A U.S. jury began deliberating on Wednesday at a civil trial where Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.S) stands accused of conspiring with the world’s largest banks to rig prices in the foreign exchange market between 2007 and 2013.

Credit Suisse is the last bank defendant remaining in the class action brought by currency investors in 2013, after 15 others reached settlements worth $2.31 billion. The investors allege that Credit Suisse traders shared nonpublic pricing information with traders at other banks.

During the trial in Manhattan federal court which began on Oct. 11, jurors heard testimony that five banks and two traders had pleaded guilty to forex-related antitrust conspiracies, and saw transcripts from chat rooms with names such as “The Cartel” where investors say traders colluded.

The jury will decide whether Credit Suisse participated in a conspiracy or multiple conspiracies to rig the foreign currency market, and if so, how long each scheme lasted and which of the 15 other banks were involved.

While the jury will not determine how any conspiracy affected market participants or award damages on a class-wide basis, their findings may be used by investors in their own lawsuits against the bank.

The jury will resume deliberations on Thursday.

Christopher Burke, a lawyer for the investors, urged jurors in closing arguments on Wednesday to find that the bank engaged in a single conspiracy with fifteen banks over six years.

“There was a culture of collusion at Credit Suisse,” he said, adding that chat room transcripts show the bank’s traders sharing information about the spread between the buy and sell price for currencies “every other day.”

Credit Suisse’s attorney Herbert Washer argued that traders chatting in separate rooms about different currency pairs could not be part of the same conspiracy, and that there was no evidence Credit Suisse traders ever acted on the chats.

“Where’s the proof that this was more than talk?” he said.

The earlier settlements in the case followed regulatory probes that culminated in more than $10 billion of fines for several banks, and the convictions or indictments of some traders.

The case is In Re Foreign Exchange Benchmark Rates Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-07789.

Reporting by Jody Godoy in New York;
Editing by Noeleen Walder, Andrea Ricci and Josie Kao

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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