Tags: Barclays | Chris Ashton | lawsuit | forex

Barclays FX 'Cartel' Trader Ashton Loses Dismissal Suit

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Friday, 30 Sep 2016 08:07 AM

A Barclays Plc trader fired amid the foreign-exchange market manipulation scandal lost his unfair dismissal case in London, three weeks after regulators banned him from the U.S. banking industry.

The bank took "appropriate actions in light of" Chris Ashton’s "gross misconduct," a London employment tribunal judge said in a Sept. 19 ruling. The decision is a rare clean win for banks fighting employment claims in the U.K. capital, a forum that has seen some success for traders who lost their jobs during a string of scandals that cost the industry billions of dollars in fines. 

Ashton was a member of "The Cartel" -- a now notorious chat room used by senior traders at banks including Barclays, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and UBS AG to share information and agree on ways to try to move currency benchmarks including the so-called 4 p.m. fix. He is the most high-profile of more than half a dozen traders and sales people who said in lawsuits that they were fired as banks rushed to appease regulators.

During a hearing in July, Barclays officials cited transcripts of chats Ashton participated in that included discussions about "using inside information" to make money, a joke about his best friend’s wife and references to "The Cartel.” A Barclays spokesman didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on the ruling.

Ashton’s lawyer declined to comment about the ruling, which can be appealed. The decision was dated about three weeks after Ashton, who was based in London, was banned from the U.S. banking industry by the Federal Reserve.

Mixed Results

Banks fired dozens of traders in the aftermath of regulatory probes into foreign-exchange markets, which have led to fines of at least $10 billion.

Some traders have won claims of unfair dismissal, but failed to get support for their allegations that they were penalized for reporting improper conduct. That would have allowed them to seek recoveries beyond an approximate 80,000-pound ($103,600) cap.

Ashton was promoted by Barclays in October 2013, a year after he warned bosses about misconduct in electronic chat rooms and four months after news broke that banks were manipulating the rate fixing process, according to his witness statement. The ruling in Ashton’s case said he was fired because of his own misconduct and not because he blew the whistle on improper conduct. 

Ashton’s FX colleagues Mark Clark and Jack Murray, have also sued the bank in the employment tribunal.

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A Barclays Plc trader fired amid the foreign-exchange market manipulation scandal lost his unfair dismissal case in London, three weeks after regulators banned him from the U.S. banking industry.
Barclays, Chris Ashton, lawsuit, forex
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2016-07-30
Friday, 30 Sep 2016 08:07 AM
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