Ex-Barclays Trader to Face Price-Fixing Charges in New York

Updated on
  • Jason Katz is scheduled to appear in Manhattan federal court
  • Five banks slated to be sentenced Thursday in currency probe

Jason Katz, a former Barclays Plc currency trader, is scheduled to appear in Manhattan federal court Wednesday to face criminal price-fixing charges, according to his lawyer and court documents.

Details of the case against Katz haven’t been made public. According to the court documents, the case will be filed as a "criminal information," which is often part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Bob Knuts, Katz’s lawyer, confirmed his client would appear in court but declined to provide further details.

The Justice Department has spearheaded a global investigation into currency-rigging since at least the fall of 2013. In May 2015, four banks -- Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland Plc -- pleaded guilty to charges that their traders conspired to manipulate trading in U.S. dollars and euros. UBS Group AG pleaded guilty to a related charge.

Katz spent a year as director of emerging markets-foreign exchange trading at Barclays beginning in 2010, according to regulatory filings and his LinkedIn profile. He joined BNP Paribas in September 2011 as its director of emerging markets-foreign exchange trading, before leaving for Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. two years later, the documents show. Before joining Barclays, Katz spent more than nine years at Standard Bank, where he was head of foreign exchange, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Katz’s time at Barclays coincides with that of Chris Ashton, the former global head of spot trading at the London-based bank. Prosecutors have been investigating allegations that Ashton and a group of other traders participated in an electronic chatroom called The Cartel where they conspired to rig currency prices. Ashton was permanently banned from U.S. banking by the U.S. Federal Reserve in August. It isn’t clear whether Katz had any interaction with Ashton or other members of The Cartel.

Those chatroom discussions formed the basis of guilty pleas by four of the banks, which are scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in Connecticut.

Bloomberg reported in August 2015 that the U.S. currency-rigging investigation had expanded to emerging market currencies, including the Brazilian real and the Russian ruble.