Brazil Regulator Names 30 Traders in Probe of Currency Rigging

Brazil’s antitrust regulator named 30 people it’s investigating as part of a civil probe into anticompetitive practices in the currency market.

If found to have violated the law, the individuals each may face penalties of as much as 2 billion reais ($632 million), Cade, as the agency is known, said in a July 1 document posted on its website. Banks they work for, which were named in a statement last week, may be fined as much as 20 percent of the revenue from operations involved in the transactions, which took place from 2007 to 2013, according to the agency.

Banks allegedly coordinated currency transactions and pricing data and blocked competitors from operating freely in the Brazilian foreign-exchange market, Cade said last week. The accusations mirror cases brought against many of the same firms by U.S. and European authorities, which reached multibillion-dollar settlements this year that included guilty pleas from firms including Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Many of the 30 names listed on the agency’s website correspond to those of traders identified in previous probes of the currency market. Cade didn’t say in the document what any of the people is alleged to have done.

Included on the list were Richard Usher, Christopher Ashton, Rohan Ramchandani and Matthew John Gardiner, former traders for JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays Plc, Citigroup Inc., and UBS Group AG, respectively. The four were members of an online chat room known as “the Cartel,” which was also featured in a settlement with U.S. and European regulators in May.

Cooperation Agreement

Lawyers for Ramchandani and Ashton declined to comment. Lawyers for Usher and Gardiner didn’t immediately respond to requests for comments by e-mail. JPMorgan and UBS declined to comment when the agency first named them last week, while Citigroup and Barclays didn’t respond.

UBS’s co-chief currency dealer, Niall O’Riordan, is also among the 30 individuals listed. His lawyer declined to comment.

One of the 15 banks the antitrust agency is probing signed a cooperation pledge, providing information to avoid punishment or win leniency, Cade Superintendent Eduardo Frade Rodrigues said last week. He declined to identify the firm.