Citi seeks DOJ’s assistance to fight former FX trader case

A lawsuit brought by former Citi FX trader Rohan Ramchandani against his ex-employer continues at the New York Southern District Court. Now, Citi is seeking the assistance of the Department of Justice (DOJ), as the bank attempts to dismiss Ramchandani’s claims.

On September 21, 2021, Citi filed a Letter in the Court, seeking an order under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e) permitting the DOJ to provide certain discovery concerning the grand jury proceedings that resulted in the indictment of Rohan Ramchandani.

Ramchandani brought this action against Citibank, his former employer. The Complaint alleges one count of malicious prosecution stemming, among other things, from Citi’s disclosure of information about Ramchandani to, and other communications with, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with an investigation into a purported criminal antitrust conspiracy arising out of Ramchandani’s role as trader in FX spot markets, and specifically the EUR/USD FX Spot market, on behalf of Citi.

As detailed in the Complaint, Ramchandani alleges, among other things, that:

  • Citi made materially misleading statements regarding Ramchandani, and provided materially misleading accounts of Ramchandani’s conduct, to the DOJ, which played an actionable role in the commencement of the DOJ’s putative criminal case against Ramchandani;
  • Citi knew that the statements and accounts it provided were materially misleading and that Ramchandani had not engaged in criminal antitrust violations; and
  • Citi acted with malice, within the meaning of governing law. Including by falsely identifying Ramchandani (whom Citi knew was not culpable for a criminal antitrust violation) as the single purported wrongdoer within Citi, thereby, among other things, diverting attention from other actually culpable conduct within Citi.

In its letter to the Court, Citi says that an essential element of Ramchandani’s claim for malicious prosecution is that Citi’s alleged false statements tainted the grand jury’s determination of probable cause to indict him for violation of the criminal antitrust laws.

Ramchandani alleges that the DOJ presented evidence to the grand jury that was fabricated by Citi and that he can overcome the legal presumption that the grand jury properly found probable cause because Citi’s false statements procured the Indictment. The indictment of Ramchandani and two traders at other banks focused on “chatrooms” the traders created and the chats they engaged in by which they allegedly coordinated their trading in violation of the antitrust laws.

Based on materials submitted at Ramchandani’s criminal trial, it was a former trader from another bank who participated in Ramchandani’s chatroom, Matthew Gardiner, who testified against Ramchandani before the grand jury and provided the essential facts that formed the basis of the Indictment. Citi also expects that the evidence would also show that Citi did not testify before the grand jury, let alone “decode” chats for the grand jury.

Given the centrality of the grand jury proceedings, Citi now requests narrowly tailored discovery from the DOJ. Citi’s requests seek, among other things, either transcripts of applicable testimony or confirmation by a DOJ witness that no testimony exists that fits the following categories:

  • Grand jury testimony by Matthew Gardiner;
  • Grand jury testimony (or the lack thereof) by a Citi representative or employee;
  • Grand jury testimony (or the lack thereof) concerning Citi’s guilty plea in United States v. Citicorp, 15 Cr. 78;
  • and Grand jury testimony (or the lack thereof) about Citi’s statements to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) concerning Ramchandani.

The DOJ has informed Citi that it would need a Rule 6(e) order from the Court authorizing the disclosures pertaining to information presented or not presented to the grand jury. Accordingly, Citi made the instant application.

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