DOJ responds to FX Cartel trader complaint
About two months after Richard Usher, former Head of G10 Spot Trading at JPMorgan Chase Bank, took the Department of Justice (DOJ) to Court over what he labels as a “shell game with evidence”, the DOJ has responded to the complaint.
The answer, seen by FX News Group, was submitted on May 17, 2021, at the Columbia District Court. As one might expect, the DOJ argues against the claims made by Usher, known for his participation in the so-called “FX Cartel” chatroom.
Let’s recall that Usher was acquitted of charges of manipulating the Forex spot market in a criminal case brought by the DOJ. But he and Rohan Ramchandani are now facing new challenges related to the events that led to the criminal proceedings against them, as the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is targeting them in administrative proceedings.
Let’s recall that, in August 2020, the OCC issued notices against Usher and Ramchandani. The notices said that hearings will commence so as to determine whether Orders should be issued against Ramchandani, the former Head of European Foreign Exchange Spot Trading at Citibank, and Richard Usher, the former Head of EMEA Foreign Exchange Spot Trading at JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., prohibiting the respondents from participating in any manner in the conduct of the affairs of any federally insured depository institution or any other institution, credit union, agency or entity referred to in 12 U.S.C. § 1818(e), and requiring respondents to pay a civil money penalty.
Usher claims that, since his acquittal by a New York jury in 2018, the OCC and DOJ have worked seemingly together, but possibly in a consciously parallel manner, to erect procedural barriers and hurdles to deny Usher his constitutional due process rights to a fair administrative proceeding and to a defense that would be based on that proven exculpatory evidence.
The evidence in question consists of nearly three million records that the DOJ produced to Usher as discovery in a criminal prosecution that DOJ brought against Usher.
The OCC’s case arises from an investigation it coordinated with DOJ, and is based on the same foreign exchange conduct. The penalties that the OCC seeks against Usher are severe: lifetime banishment from the banking industry and a $1.5 million penalty.
In sum, the complaint alleges that “the DOJ has adopted a purposeful and spiteful strategy” to prevent Usher from using the exculpatory materials that led to his acquittal in his criminal trial to defend himself from the same allegations in a follow-on administrative enforcement action.
In its answer to Usher’s complaint, the DOJ notes that Usher did not have the right to keep evidence from the criminal proceedings against him.
The US authorities stress that, rather than return or destroy the Criminal Discovery as he was required to do under the S.D.N.Y. Protective Order, Usher violated the protective order by retaining the Criminal Discovery after criminal proceeding concluded in October 2018.
The DOJ further further avers that Usher now seeks to benefit from that violation of the Protective Order by contending that his request is “exceedingly modest” because the Criminal Discovery is “already in Usher’s possession.” The DOJ notes that the Protective Order bars Usher from accessing or using the discovery in other proceedings, including the OCC proceeding.
The lawsuit continues at the Columbia District Court.