Greed Drove Former Citigroup Trader to Cheat System and Rig Currency Trades
8 November 2019: A former Citigroup trader, Christopher Cummins, has conceded that he was driven by greed to plot with rivals at other firms to rig currency trades. Cummins used chat rooms, phone calls and social gatherings as a means to conspire with rival firms to rig currency trades. Meanwhile, their customers believed that the firms were in competition. The group took steps to conceal their wrongdoing by writing in such a way in chats that compliance staff were unable to search for the chats in the system.
Talking to a jury, Cummins, who is one of the first traders to admit wrongdoing in the case, confessed “the purpose was to try to make more money trading”. He is testifying on behalf of the government in a case against a former JP Morgan Chase 7 Co trader, who’s charged with the rigging of currencies in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Among other things, this case highlights the inefficiencies of some compliance systems, where traders are easily able to cheat or rig the system to disguise their wrongdoing. While the activity is inevitably picked up in the long run – it could be discovered much faster with an intuitive, technological solution in place. An over-reliance on human search functions will undoubtedly produce holes in the system, which can be manipulated by those willing (or greedy enough) to flout the rules.