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What lies ahead for the Forex defendants

Posted by: In: General 23 Dec 2014 Comments: 0

Last Friday, 19 December, a former foreign exchange trader at RBS was arrested by the City of London police, at the bidding of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). According to the press dozens more arrests will take place in the coming months as the SFO gets to grips with the alleged rigging of the foreign exchange markets.

The SFO isn’t saying much. But we have a pretty shrewd idea of what lies in store for any bank traders who fall into their net.

On the day of their arrest comes the first challenge. They will be sitting in a local police station waiting for the SFO investigators to arrive. They will be told of their right to legal representation. The only solicitors they know are probably from the large firms who handle big ticket City work, mergers and acquisitions, corporate tax, banking law. No use in a case where the SFO are asking awkward questions about hundreds of interesting e mails sent on the spur of the moment years ago. No use where the SFO may be arguing there should be no bail………………..

When they eventually find the right solicitor the traders meet the next challenge. These solicitors will want the traders to do some work; they will want the traders to read all those e mails the SFO are relying on, they will want the traders to explain the jargon, identify who’s who and help explain how the SFO have arrived at those figures on that graph and in that chart. It’s not the sort of work the traders are used to……………

Then there’s the choice of the trial barrister. A big-hitting QC and a hard-working and tenacious junior barrister. They will want to meet the trader. See what sort of impression he or she will give to the jury. Assess whether the trader will collapse under cross examination. Decide whether the trader has a defence. See if there are any emails the bank are sitting on which might help the defence………

On and on it goes for months on end interspersed with a  trip to the Court where  a Judge asks the assembled legal teams lots of questions about trial preparation, while the trader sits there wondering whether those people taking notes work for the solicitors or the newspapers……………

We know from our clients that a large number of defendants don’t have a true grasp of what is going on. They are shell shocked on-lookers in the gladiatorial arena of the court room yet they are the focus of attention.  They are too scared to ask their lawyers lest they appear stupid. Or because they are afraid of what the answer may be. They will be concerned of the consequences if things don’t go well and fearful of what may lay ahead. They can’t speak to their co-defendants because that’s not allowed by the bail conditions. They can’t ask their families for obvious reasons. So they ask us and we help.

It’s what we do.


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