NY fines Credit Suisse $135 mn over forex manipulation

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Credit Suisse Group AG will pay a $135 million fine to settle allegations it broke NY banking law by improperly working with other global banks, trading ahead of client orders and additional conduct that hurt its customers.

The Swiss bank does not admit to any findings of fact and the resolution does not involve any fraud-based violations, the bank writes.

The New York Department of Financial Services alleges that Credit Suisse failed to implement proper controls over its foreign-exchange business from 2008 to 2015.

The agreement is the latest in a string of global regulatory settlements with big Wall Street banks over forex trading practices.

Credit Suisse traders used online chat rooms to share client information, discuss coordinating trades and attempt to manipulate currency prices and benchmark rates - diminishing competition among banks and increasing profits at clients' expense, according the statement.

Credit Suisse, like numerous other foreign banks, operates in the United States through foreign branches that are licensed and regulated by NY state. In late September, the British bank HSBC agreed to pay $175 million to avoid prosecution.

The investigation also found executives encouraged traders to engage in "front-running", or trading ahead of known client orders.

The Department of Financial Services (DFS) in NY said traders at Credit Suisse had co-ordinated with other banks and traded on confidential customer information, which could have led to the manipulation of exchange rates.

Elsewhere, traders in the bank used a tactic called "building ammo", where they improperly shared customer information on trading the euro/yen currency pair to ensure they were not taking positions that would hurt one another.

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