Five banks including Citi, RBS, JPMorgan, face FX collusion class action lawsuit in Australia

Citigroup, Barclays, RBS, JPMorgan Chase and UBS are facing a class action lawsuit in Australia for allegedly rigging foreign exchange prices to boost profits after the financial crash.

According to the lawsuit, the collusion on foreign exchange rates occurred between January 2008 and October 2013 via direct communication in chat rooms with colorful names including "The Mafia."

The class action was filed today at the Federal Court by law firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, on behalf of local businesses and investors.

“Australian businesses and investors—particularly medium to large importers, exporters, institutional investors and businesses with operations overseas—have been affected by the distortion of the FX market by these banks. Such cartel behaviour cheats Australian businesses in circumstances where they may already have been vulnerable to currency fluctuations,” said Maurice Blackburn Principal Lawyer, Kimi Nishimura.

According to Bloomberg, banks have paid out more than $11.8 billion globally in penalties and fines plus an additional $2.3 billion in customer and investor compensation since 2013 related to the manipulation of FX markets.