World Economy

5 More Banks in $2b Currency Scandal

5 More Banks in $2b Currency Scandal5 More Banks in $2b Currency Scandal

HSBC Holdings Plc, Barclays Plc and three other banks agreed to settle US investor lawsuits tied to the currency-rigging scandal, bringing the total so far to more than $2 billion across nine firms, Bloomberg reported.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., BNP Paribas SA and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc also agreed to settle class actions claiming the banks conspired to manipulate the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign-exchange market, said Christopher Burke, whose firm is one of two lead counsels for US investors.

Michael Hausfeld, head of the other co-lead firm, said after a hearing Thursday in Manhattan federal court that he’s considering filing similar foreign-exchange manipulation claims on behalf of clients outside the US.

“This is just the beginning,” Hausfeld said. “The Asian and the European markets are much larger.” The settlements require the companies to cooperate against the seven remaining bank defendants, Hausfeld’s firm said in a statement.

The $2 billion includes earlier agreements totaling $808.5 million, with JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc.

The investors sued beginning in 2013, claiming banks rigged the foreign-exchange market by manipulating foreign-exchange benchmark rates, fixing prices by agreeing to widen bid-ask spreads on spot trades and exchanging confidential customer information to trigger stop-loss and limit orders.

Authorities in the US, Europe and Asia have pursued bank traders around the globe seeking evidence they conspired to fix financial benchmarks that affect everything from mortgages to retirement products to cross-border money flows. The probes have yielded billions of dollars in fines and in some cases criminal convictions.

The banks remaining as defendants in the case are Standard Chartered Plc, Societe Generale SA, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., RBC Capital Markets, Deutsche Bank AG, Credit Suisse Group AG and Morgan Stanley.