US authorities launch major currency fixing investigation

Financial watchdog announces probe as banks dismiss or let go traders

US authorities have opened an investigation into manipulation of the currency markets by large banks

Benjamin Lawsky, New York's financial services superintendent, has requested documents from more than a dozen institutions, according to sources.

Mr Lawsky has apparently asked for documents from Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Lloyds Banking, RBS, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered.

The investigation adds another name to the list of regulators and law enforcement offices around the world looking at whether traders at the largest banks unduly influenced currency fixes, front-run large customer orders and engaged in other manipulative practices.


At the same time as the today’s announcement,Deutsche Bank , the world’s biggest foreign-exchange dealer, dismissed three New York-based traders following an internal investigation into alleged manipulations.

Diego Moraiz, who dealt in Latin American currencies, Robert Wallden, who was questioned by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation last year about his electronic communications concerning foreign-exchange markets, and Christopher Fahy were fired for inappropriate communications, according to sources.

Separately, it was being reported that two senior Goldman Sachs foreign-exchange traders have retired from the bank.

Steven Cho, global head of G-10 spot and forward trading, and Leland Lim, co-head of macro trading for Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, have both retired from the Wall Street bank, according to sources.

Both were named partner in 2010.

Guy Saidenberg, the global head of foreign exchange trading, remains in his role, said the sources.

According to an internal bank memo seen by Reuters today, the global head of foreign exchange at Citigroup, the world's second largest currency trader, is also to leave the bank.

London-based Anil Prasad’s departure, however, is not related to the global investigation into allegations of currency market manipulation, a source familiar with the matter said. “Anil’s decision is his own and entirely unrelated to the on-going FX investigations,” the source said.

Citi sees 14.9 per cent of the average $5.3 trillion that flows through the world currency markets every day, according to the last annual poll by Euromoney, just behind market leader Deutsche Bank AG which sees 15.2 per cent.