"The illegal manipulation of this cornerstone benchmark rate undermines the integrity of the markets; it harms those who are relying on what they expect to be an honest benchmark; and it has ripple effects that extend far beyond the trading at issue here," said Mythili Raman, who is acting head of the Justice Department's criminal division.
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The Justice Department describes the three working with each other and other traders to move the rate between 2006 and 2011.
When one trader asks Robson in a September 2007 email for a higher Yen rate, Robson replies: "sure no prob ... I'll probably get a few phone calls but no worries mate ... there's bigger crooks in the market than us guys!"
At times Robson describes the skewed submission as "embarrassing," "ridiculously high" and "obscenely high," the Justice Department said.
U.S. criminal prosecutors have previously charged five other traders or brokers over similar conduct, but all remain overseas.
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The defendants could face up to 30 years in prison, but it is unclear if prosecutors will be able to bring them to the United States to face the charges.