UBS AG (UBSN) suspended foreign-exchange traders in the U.S., Singapore and Switzerland as its investigation into the alleged rigging of currency markets widened, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
They include Onur Sert, an emerging-markets spot trader based in New York, and at least three more worldwide, said the person, who asked not to be identified because of the probe. Sert and Dominik von Arx, a spokesman for UBS in London, both declined to comment on the suspensions.
Switzerland’s largest bank opened a review of its currency operations last year after Bloomberg News reported in June that traders in the industry had colluded to rig the WM/Reuters rates, a benchmark used by investors and companies around the world.
Sert, 30, previously worked for Standard Chartered Plc. UBS suspended Niall O’Riordan, its co-chief dealer, last year after regulators announced they were probing the $5.3 trillion-a-day market. The Zurich-based firm has also banned employees from taking part in instant-message groups involving other banks.
Shares of UBS were little changed at 18.08 Swiss francs at 11 a.m. in Zurich trading.
Authorities in three continents are investigating whether traders at some of the world’s largest banks sought to manipulate the WM/Reuters rates in their favor by pushing through trades before and during the 60-second windows when the benchmarks are set.
Regulators are examining whether bank traders communicated with dealers at other firms and timed trades to influence benchmarks and maximize profits. Some exchanged information on instant-message groups with names such as “The Cartel,” “The Bandits’ Club,” “One Team, One Dream” and “The Mafia.”
A dozen firms are reviewing millions of e-mails, instant messages and phone records of their foreign-exchange employees for evidence of potential manipulation, people with knowledge of those probes have said.
At least two dozen traders have been fired, suspended or put on leave by banks including Citigroup Inc., Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Barclays Plc. No firms or traders have been accused of wrongdoing by government authorities.