JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs Seek Dismissal of Currency Suits

Banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Deutsche Bank AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are seeking the dismissal of investor lawsuits alleging they rigged prices in the $5 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market.

The banks said in papers filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court that the investors haven’t properly alleged they engaged in an antitrust conspiracy. They asked U.S. District Judge Lorna Schofield to dismiss the claims.

The investors accused the banks’ top currency traders of using closed-network chat rooms with names such as “The Cartel,” “The Bandits’ Club” and “The Mafia” to share confidential client information and manipulate the benchmark WM/Reuters rates. Spikes in trading around the times when rates are calculated show the banks tried to improperly influence them, according to the investors.

WM/Reuters rates are published hourly for 160 currencies and half-hourly for the 21 most-traded. They are the median of all trades in a minute-long period starting 30 seconds before the beginning of each half-hour. Rates for less-widely traded currencies are based on quotes during a two-minute window.

The data are collected and distributed by World Markets Co., a unit of Boston-based State Street Corp., and Thomson Reuters Corp. Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, competes with Thomson Reuters in providing news and information as well as currency-trading systems.

The case is In Re Foreign Exchange Benchmark Rates Antitrust Litigation, 13-cv-07789, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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