Regulators Examine Allegations Of Currency Manipulation

Wall Street's currency markets are under scrutiny. New York's top financial regulator is looking at whether traders at some of the street's biggest firms shared information with each other in a bid to manipulate exchange rates.

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New York State regulators are looking into allegations of currency manipulation by traders at more than a dozen big banks. This effort is part of a global investigation into foreign exchange practices that's already cost several traders their jobs.

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NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: The superintendent of New York's Department of Financial Services, Benjamin Lawsky, has asked a number of banks to turn over emails and other documents tied to their foreign exchange departments. The banks, which include Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and the Royal Bank of Scotland, are said to be cooperating with regulators.

The request was first reported by Bloomberg and then confirmed yesterday by a person familiar with the investigation. The person said Lawsky is looking into a broad range of activities by the banks. Lawsky's office regulates activity by banks that do business in the state.

The investigation started with allegations that senior traders at a London based bank colluded to manipulate currency rates. And it has since spread with law enforcement authorities in Hong Kong Switzerland and the United States looking into the charges.

Bloomberg reported that at least 16 traders at big banks have been suspended or put on leave as a result of the allegations. This week, Deutsche Bank dismissed three New York-based traders after conducting an internal investigation and finding what were called inappropriate communications. Other traders have left voluntarily as the investigations have spread, including two at Goldman Sachs and one at Citigroup.

Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.

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