Michael O’Higgins FX Class Representative Limited is leading a legal action in the UK against five banks that have been fined €1.087 billion by the European Commission for forex price manipulation. This legal action is seeking to return hundreds of millions of pounds to pension funds, asset managers, hedge funds and corporates from around the world who were affected by the forex cartels between 2007 and 2013.
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 current and forward looking commercially sensitive information and trading plans, and coordinated their trading strategies through online chat rooms. 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 temporarily refraining from trading to avoid interfering with another trader’s activities.
Although the European Commission fined the banks more than €1bn collectively, those 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.
Anyone domiciled in the UK or not domiciled in the UK who entered into relevant FX trades.