Akshay Aiyer, a former currency trader, was convicted Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for his participation in an antitrust conspiracy to manipulate prices for emerging market currencies in the global foreign currency exchange (FX) market, according to a release issued Friday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) inspector general.
After a three-week trial, Aiyer was found guilty of conspiring to fix prices and rig bids in Central and Eastern European, Middle Eastern and African (CEEMEA) currencies, which were generally traded against the U.S. dollar and the euro, from at least October 2010 through at least January 2013, the release says.
Evidence presented at trial showed that Aiyer and his co-conspirators manipulated exchange rates by agreeing to withhold bids or offers to avoid moving the exchange rate in a direction adverse to open positions held by co-conspirators; and by coordinating their trading to manipulate the rates in an effort to increase their profits. “By agreeing not to buy or sell at certain times, the conspiring traders protected each other’s trading positions by withholding supply of or demand for currency and suppressing competition in the FX spot market for emerging market currencies,” the release says.
The investigation of this case was being conducted by the FDIC Office of Inspector General and the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the prosecution handled by the New York office of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, the release stated.