Economy

Banks under investigation for alleged currency exchange rate-fixing

Barclays, Goldman Sachs among institutions being investigated for allegedly manipulating foreign exchange markets

Barclays is among the banks under investigation.
Dominic Lipinski/AP

New York state's financial regulator has opened an investigation into alleged manipulation of foreign exchange markets and is demanding documents from more than a dozen banks, a source familiar with the investigation told Al Jazeera.

Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, Goldman Sachs and a number of other large banks that the Department of Financial Services regulates will be investigated in the probe, the source said.

Authorities in the U.S., Britain, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore have opened probes into whether the large banks manipulated foreign exchange rates used to set the value of trillions of dollars of investments.

Investigators suspect that traders from different banks may have used chat rooms to share information about trades in ways that benefited their positions.

The head of Britain's Financial Conduct Authority told a parliamentary panel Tuesday that the allegations were comparable to the case on the rigging of Libor, the key London interbank interest rate that anchors financial deals worldwide.

Several banks have already agreed to pay billions of dollars to settle charges in that scandal. HSBC and Citigroup are among the large banks that have suspended traders in the wake of the probes into foreign exchange market manipulation.

Deustche Bank fired three foreign currency traders in New York, The New York Times reported Wednesday. Reuters reported that a fourth employee was fired in Argentina, related to investigations into fixing the rate of the Argentine peso against the U.S. dollar.

Al Jazeera and wire services

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