A criminal indictment was filed against Akshay Aiyer for purportedly conspiring to artificially fix prices and improperly coordinate bids and offers with other traders in Central and Eastern European, Middle Eastern and African currencies between approximately July 2006 through March 2015. According to the Department of Justice, Mr. Aiyer, a former trader for JPMorgan Chase, engaged in his conspiracy through “near-daily” communications with other traders in private electronic chat rooms, telephone calls and through text messages. Among information communicated was confidential customer information, including orders, alleged the indictment. Mr. Aiyer’s indictment was filed in a federal court in New York City.

In May 2015, five major international banks pleaded guilty to conspiring to manipulate the price of certain foreign exchange transactions, and agreed to pay fines to the United States in excess of US $2.7 billion, as well as other sanctions, to resolve criminal proceedings initiated by the DOJ. In general, the DOJ claimed that each of the five banks, at various times from December 2007 through January 2013, endeavored to help artificially impact the daily “fix” or settlement price of certain forex paired transactions for their own or other banks’ betterment and/or included markups or markdowns on trades without their clients’ consent. (Click here for background in the article “Five Banks Plead Guilty to Forex Manipulation Activities and Agree to Fines Totaling US $5.6 Billion and Other Sanctions” in the May 31, 2015 edition of Bridging the Week.)