The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve seal is displayed on the floor outside the board room in Washington, D.C., U.S.,  (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Fed Seeks to Ban, Fine Ex-Barclays Trader in FX Manipulation

(Bloomberg) -- Former Barclays Plc trader Peter Little, who was accused of using electronic chat rooms to coordinate with bank traders allegedly trying to manipulate foreign-exchange rates, is being fined $487,500 by the Federal Reserve and facing a permanent ban from U.S. banking.

Little, when he led the Barclays FX spot desk in New York, engaged in unsafe and unsound practices and failed to properly supervise subordinate traders, the Fed said in a statement Friday. The sanctions against Little follow Fed banking bans imposed on former Barclays traders Christopher Ashton and Michael Weston. Little was terminated by the bank in 2013, the Fed said.

Traders from Barclays were associated with “the Cartel” -- the name given to a now-notorious chat room used by senior traders at banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and UBS to share information and agree on ways to try to move currency benchmarks including the so-called 4 p.m. fix. Little’s information was frequently exchanged with traders active in the Cartel, according to the Fed’s enforcement action.

“Little coordinated with other dealers and attempted to manipulate benchmark fixes in order to profit, which would impact both his bonus compensation and the security of his position as head of desk,” according to the Fed, which specifically accused him of coordinating with competitors or attempting to influence benchmark fixes at least 13 times.

The Fed fined six banks for currency rigging and said the lenders had to cooperate in the investigation against employees.

“Mr. Little will fight and prevail against the Federal Reserve’s baseless allegations,” Michael Watsula, a lawyer representing Little, said in an emailed statement. “The Federal Reserve denied Mr. Little any meaningful opportunity to explain the fundamental error of its theories before it sullied his good name with these charges.”

Little can request a hearing within 20 days to challenge the sanctions.

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