Ex-Citi Trader Second to Plead Guilty in Price-Fixing Probe

  • Christopher Cummins conspired to fix currency prices: U.S.
  • Antitrust case follows guilty plea of former Barclays trader

A former Citigroup Inc. foreign-exchange trader pleaded guilty to conspiring to fix prices of currencies, the second dealer to admit wrongdoing in a U.S. criminal investigation of market rigging.

Christopher Cummins schemed with traders at other banks from 2007 to 2013 to fix prices for emerging-market currencies, the Justice Department said in a statement Thursday. Cummins has agreed to cooperate in the investigation.

The manipulation "was intended to stymie free competition that promotes market integrity and fair pricing,” said Brent Snyder, the head of criminal enforcement at the Justice Department’s antitrust division.

The case against Cummins follows the guilty plea of Jason Katz, a former Barclays Plc currency trader, who admitted Jan. 4 to conspiring to fix prices in the foreign-exchange market. On Tuesday, U.S. prosecutors charged three ex-traders in the U.K. with illegally coordinating trading in U.S. dollars and euros.

Cummins’s lawyer, Evan Barr, didn’t immediately return a voice-mail message seeking comment on the plea.

Citigroup said he no longer works at the New York-based bank and declined further comment. Citigroup was among a group of banks that pleaded guilty in May 2015 to conspiring to rig currency rates.

Cummins traded Central and Eastern European, Middle Eastern and African currencies. He and others manipulated prices by creating "non-bona fide" trades, coordinating the placement of bids and offers, and agreeing on currency prices quoted to specific customers, according to prosecutors.

The case is U.S. v. Christopher Cummins, 17-cr-026, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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