Australian law firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers launched a class action lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Barclays PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC and UBS Group AG for allegedly conspiring to manipulate foreign exchange rates between Jan. 1, 2008, and Oct. 15, 2013.
The law firm said traders made use of chat rooms to communicate directly with each other to coordinate the rigging of foreign exchange benchmark rates, control the pricing of spreads and to trigger client stop-loss orders and limit orders.
Maurice Blackburn added that the alleged cartel conduct, which has been subject to an extensive regulatory and private enforcement action in the U.S. and Canada, aimed to improve profits at the expense of Australian businesses and investors, particularly medium to large importers, exporters, institutional investors and businesses with overseas operations.
Settlements in the U.S. and Canada have resulted in sanctions of over US$2.3 billion and C$107 million, respectively, according to the law firm.
Earlier in May, the European Commission fined JPMorgan, Citigroup, Barclays and RBS roughly €1.07 billion over the manipulation of the foreign exchange market. UBS avoided a fine of about €285 million because it revealed the cartels' existence to the commission.