Former JPMorgan FX trader set to challenge sentence
Less than a month after Akshay Aiyer was sentenced to eight months in jail for his participation in an antitrust conspiracy to manipulate prices for emerging market currencies in the FX market, the former JPMorgan FX trader has made clear his plans to challenge the sentence.
According to documents filed by Mr Aiyer with the New York Southern District Court on October 7, 2020, and seen by FX News Group, he will present several questions on appeal.
Mr Aiyer will argue that the Court erred in precluding substantial evidence that the conduct in which he engaged had no impact on supply and demand and on price. According to him, this evidence went to his state of mind and would have demonstrated to the jury that he lacked criminal intent to manipulate prices.
If, given the nature of the currency market, the charged conduct was not capable of having an anticompetitive effect, then no rational defendant could have intended to try to manipulate prices to reap little or no personal gain, Mr Aiyer says.
The defendant now asks for bail pending appeal. The defense notes that nothing has changed since the Court previously found Mr Aiyer was not a flight risk and presents no danger to the community. Moreover, Mr Aiyer will have completed most or all of his eight-month sentence before his appeal is resolved, and denying bail pending appeal risks inflicting substantial injustice in the event of reversal.
According to evidence presented at trial, Aiyer engaged in near-daily communications with his co-conspirators in order to coordinate their trades of the CEEMEA currencies in the FX spot market.
The jury heard evidence that Aiyer and his co-conspirators manipulated exchange rates by agreeing to withhold bids or offers to avoid moving the exchange rate in a direction adverse to open positions held by co-conspirators and by coordinating their trading to manipulate the rates in an effort to increase their profits. By agreeing not to buy or sell at certain times, the conspiring traders protected each other’s trading positions by withholding supply of or demand for currency and suppressing competition in the FX spot market for emerging market currencies.
The jury also heard evidence that the defendant and his co-conspirators took steps to conceal their actions by using code names, communicating on personal cell phones during work hours, and meeting in person to discuss particular customers and trading strategies.