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Citi foreign exchange dealer pleads guilty to U.S. rate-fixing charge

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A foreign exchange dealer for Citigroup <C.N> who specialized in central and eastern European, Middle Eastern and African currencies has pleaded guilty to conspiring to fix currency prices.

The U.S. Department of Justice said on Thursday that Christopher Cummins worked with other foreign exchange dealers to manipulate exchange rates from about 2007 to 2013.

A spokeswoman for Citigroup declined comment on the guilty plea. Cummins could not be reached for comment.

Cummins is the second trader to admit guilt in the probe. The first was Jason Katz, a former trader at Barclays who later worked at BNP Paribas SA and who pleaded guilty on Jan. 4.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department brought charges against three former traders at Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co <JPM.N>, and Barclays Plc <BARC.L> arising from a global probe into the manipulation of foreign exchange rates at major banks.

The three were Richard Usher, formerly of JPMorgan, Rohan Ramchandani, formerly of Citigroup, and Christopher Ashton, formerly of Barclays.

JPMorgan, Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland <RBS.L> and a Citigroup unit pleaded guilty in May 2015 to conspiring to manipulate currency rates, agreeing at that time to pay more than $2.5 billion in criminal fines.

Those plea deals contributed to the more than $10 billion that some of the world's biggest banks have agreed to pay to resolve U.S. and European probes into the manipulation of foreign exchange rates.

(This version of the story was refiled to include first name of dealer in second paragraph)

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; editing by Grant McCool)