In May 2019, the European Commission found that a number of banks operated two separate cartels in the foreign exchange market, in breach of EU competition law. The first (known as ‘Three Way Banana Split’) was operated by Barclays, Citigroup, JPMorgan, RBS and UBS and took place between December 2007 and January 2013. The second (known as ‘Essex Express’) was operated by banks including Barclays, RBS and UBS, and took place between December 2009 and July 2012.
The banks in question exchanged commercially sensitive information and trading plans, and coordinated their trading strategies, in relation to foreign exchange transactions. These information exchanges allowed the banks to make informed market decisions on whether to sell or buy the currencies they had in their portfolios and to identify opportunities for coordination, such as by temporarily refraining from trading to avoid interfering with another trader’s activities.
The European Commission fined the banks more than €1bn collectively. Since the fines are not used to compensate victims of the banks’ illegal conduct, Michael O’Higgins FX Class Representative Limited is seeking to bring a collective action claiming compensation on the victims’ behalf.
The behaviour of these banks undermined the integrity of the sector at the expense of the European economy and consumers.Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition.
Anyone (including businesses) domiciled in the UK who has entered into relevant FX trades is automatically included within the claim, though they can decide to opt out of the claim if they want.
Anyone (including businesses) who is not domiciled in the UK but has entered into relevant FX trades can still take part in the claim, but will need to take steps to opt in.
Further information on how to opt in or opt out will be available in due course. If you would like to register to be kept up to date on developments in the case, including on how to opt in or out at the appropriate time, please register your interest here.
Michael O’Higgins FX Class Representative Limited has instructed Scott+Scott UK LLP to act for it in the claim.
Michael O’Higgins FX Class Representative Limited is representing the victims of the foreign exchange cartels. Michael O’Higgins FX Class Representative Limited is a special purpose vehicle incorporated to bring this claim, as the complexity and possible long duration of the claim means that it is more appropriate that the class be represented by a company rather than an individual. Michael O’Higgins is the sole director and sole member of the company, which is incorporated in England & Wales...