Big banks brace for rate-rigging showdown

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Big banks brace for rate-rigging showdown as ex-treasury director says they “must be held accountable”

Former Treasury Director Michael O’Higgins (pictured) is leading a multibillion dollar lawsuit against some of the UK’s biggest banks

A former senior Treasury official who is leading a multibillion dollar lawsuit against some of the UK’s biggest banks has launched a passionate plea to get his case to move forward.

Speaking to the Competition Appeal Tribunal yesterday, Michael O’Higgins said bankers accused of rigging foreign exchange markets on online discussion forums “must be held accountable.”

Following a hearing in London, which began yesterday and is expected to end later this week, a judge will decide whether to allow O’Higgins’ lawsuit against banks such as Barclays, Natwest , JP Morgan and Citigroup.

Traders working for banks exchanged sensitive information and trading plans between 2007 and 2013 in online discussion forums.

This allowed them to make informed decisions about when to buy or sell a currency they held – but could have cost clients of banks hundreds of millions of pounds, including pension funds, asset managers, hedge funds and corporations.

O’Higgins wants to pursue a class action lawsuit on behalf of all affected clients.

Two US law firms, Scott + Scott and Hausfeld, are vying for the right to claim damages of at least £ 1 billion. The hearing will determine which of the two – if any – is authorized to make their case.

“My stay at the Treasury roughly coincided with the global financial crisis and its aftermath.

When I saw the employees of Her Majesty’s Treasury working tirelessly to save the banking system, I and they did not know that members of some of the big banks were actively engaging in anti-competitive cartel behavior in the credit markets. changes, ‘O’ says Higgins.

Banks have already been fined over £ 900million by the European Commission for participating in cartels.

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