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Ex-JPMorgan trader found guilty in U.S. currency-rigging trial

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By Reuters

By Brendan Pierson

NEWYORK (Reuters) – A former foreign exchange trader at JPMorgan Chase & Co <JPM.N> was found guilty Wednesday of conspiring to rig trades for his own benefit.

Akshay Aiyer was convicted of one count of conspiracy by a jury in federal court in Manhattan, court records show. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 3.

“This conviction serves as a reminder of our commitment to hold individuals responsible for their involvement in complex financial schemes which violate the integrity of the global financial markets,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, of the U.S. Department of Justice, said in a statement.

A lawyer for Aiyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

Aiyer, who lives in New York, was indicted in May 2018. Prosecutors said he conspired from at least October 2010 to July 2013 to eliminate competition by fixing prices of and rigging bids for Central and Eastern European, Middle Eastern and African currencies.

Aiyer was at least the sixth person charged in Manhattan federal court in connection with a wide-ranging U.S. probe into currency manipulation by major banks.

Barclays Plc <BARC.L>, BNP Paribas SA <BNPP.PA>, Citigroup Inc <C.N>, JPMorgan, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc <RBS.L> and UBS Group AG <UBSG.S> have entered related guilty pleas, and been collectively fined more than $2.8 billion.

Prosecutors said Aiyer and his co-conspirators swapped trading positions, customer information and pricing of customer orders through chat rooms, phone calls and text messages, in an effort to coordinate their own trading and boost profit, the indictment said.

Those co-conspirators included former traders Jason Katz, who worked at Barclays and BNP Paribas, and Christopher Cummins, who worked at Citigroup. Both pleaded guilty in January 2017 to conspiracy charges and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)