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JPMorgan settles foreign exchange price-rigging lawsuit

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(Reuters) — JPMorgan Chase & Co. has become the first bank to settle an antitrust lawsuit in which investors accused 12 major banks of rigging prices in the $5 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market.

The settlement with the largest U.S. bank was disclosed on Monday in a letter from lawyers for JPMorgan and the plaintiffs, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Terms were not disclosed. A settlement agreement is expected to be filed with the court by the end of January.

Investors including the city of Philadelphia and a group of hedge funds and public pension funds had accused the banks of conspiring since January 2003 to manipulate the benchmark WM/Reuters rates through chat rooms, instant messages and email.

"The settlement is a responsible step by Chase in addressing its involvement in the forex trading," Michael Hausfeld, a lawyer for the investors, said in a phone interview. "It is a beginning with respect to the accountability of other banks engaged in the same trading."

JPMorgan spokesman Brian Marchiony confirmed the settlement but declined further comment.

The case is In re: Foreign Exchange Benchmark Rates Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-07789.