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Citi, Barclays close to settling forex lawsuit for $800 million: WSJ

Employees walk through the Citigroup headquarters in New York, November 24, 2008. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - Citigroup Inc and Barclays Plc are close to settling as early as this week a lawsuit with private investors who say the banks manipulated foreign-exchange rates, the Wall Street Journal said.

The two banks are expected to pay as much as $800 million in settlement, the daily said, citing people close to the situation.

Barclays declined to comment. Citigroup could not be immediately reached.

JPMorgan Chase & Co agreed to pay about $100 million to settle the same lawsuit in January and UBS AG agreed to pay $135 million last week.

Investors including hedge funds and public pension funds accused 12 banks of having conspired since January 2003 in chat rooms, instant messages and emails to manipulate the WM/Reuters Closing Spot Rates.

The 2013 lawsuit is separate from criminal and civil probes worldwide into whether banks rigged currency rates to boost profit at the expense of customers and investors.

(Reporting by Amrutha Gayathri in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)