Newspaper article International New York Times

Inquiries Multiply into Currency Trade ; Manipulation by Banks Is Feared to Be on Scale of Libor Rate- Rigging Scandal

Newspaper article International New York Times

Inquiries Multiply into Currency Trade ; Manipulation by Banks Is Feared to Be on Scale of Libor Rate- Rigging Scandal

Article excerpt

New York State's top financial regulator has opened an investigation into whether more than a dozen banks manipulated the prices of foreign currencies.

The business of trading currencies is in a state of flux as top executives leave and traders are suspended or fired in the face of investigations into potential manipulation of the $5 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market.

The latest regulator to start an inquiry into whether more than a dozen banks manipulated the price of foreign currencies is New York State's top financial watchdog, Benjamin M. Lawsky.

His agency, the Department of Financial Services, recently sent the banks -- including Credit Suisse, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered -- a request for documents about the suspected manipulation, according to a person briefed on the matter.

Separately, two senior foreign exchange executives are stepping down.

Anil Prasad, who has served as global head of Citigroup's foreign exchange and local markets operations since 2007, is leaving the bank to "pursue other interests," according to an internal memorandum reviewed by DealBook.

Steven Cho, global head of major currency spot and forward trading at Goldman Sachs in New York, is retiring from the investment bank, according to a person briefed on the matter.

It is not unusual for executives who are considering making a change to leave at this time of year. The previous year's bonus compensation has already been paid and banks, looking to trim their executive ranks, often encourage older or underperforming employees to move if they are not in a company's future plans.

"Anil informs me that he has been considering this for some time, and feels the time is right for him to move on to the next stage of his career," Paco Ybarra, Citigroup's global head of markets and securities services, wrote in the memo.

Mr. Prasad will leave the post in March, and his successor is expected to be named in the coming weeks. He started with Citigroup in 1986 and, aside from a three-year stint with Natwest Capital Markets, had been with the bank for most of his career. …

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