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Banks' forex lawsuit settlements near US$2b: WSJ

[NEW YORK] The total amount paid by banks to settle a civil lawsuit related to allegations that traders manipulated the currency market has reached almost US$2 billion following a recent round of settlement agreements, the Wall Street Journal reported.

HSBC Holdings Plc, Barclays Plc, BNP Paribas SA and Goldman Sachs Group Inc have recently signed agreements to settle the case, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. HSBC has agreed to pay $285 million and Barclays $375 million, the Journal reported.

Bank of America Corp settled its portion of currency rigging lawsuit in April.

JPMorgan Chase & Co settled for $99.5 million in January and Switzerland's UBS Group AG settled for $135 million in March.

Other defendants include Citigroup Inc, Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, Morgan Stanley and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc.

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Investors including the city of Philadelphia, hedge funds and public pension funds accused the 12 banks of having conspired since January 2003 in chat rooms, instant messages and emails to manipulate the WM/Reuters Closing Spot Rates.

According to the lawsuit, the banks held an 84 per cent global market share in currency trading, and were counterparties in 98 per cent of US spot volume.

HSBC and Goldman Sachs declined to comment. Barclays and BNP Paribas could not be immediately reached for comment.


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