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US: Top court rejects banks over Libor antitrust lawsuits

 |  January 17, 2017

The US Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed private antitrust lawsuits brought by investors including big US cities accusing major banks of conspiring to manipulate the pivotal Libor benchmark interest rate to move forward. The justices rejected an appeal filed by a group of banks including Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, UBS and JPMorgan Chase of a May 2016 ruling by the New York-based 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed various lawsuits against them to proceed.

The appeals court reversed a lower court judge’s dismissal of investors’ antitrust claims against the banks.

Libor, or the London Interbank Offered Rate, underpins hundreds of trillions of dollars of transactions and is used to set rates on credit cards, student loans and mortgages. It is calculated based on submissions by banks that sit on panels.

Investors including the University of California and cities such as Baltimore, Houston and Philadelphia accused the big banks of suppressing Libor during the 2007-2009 financial crisis to boost earnings or make their finances appear healthier.

The appeals court ruling buttressed investors in several lawsuits in Manhattan seeking to hold banks liable for billions of dollars in damages for alleged price-fixing in US Treasuries, commodities, currencies, derivatives and other rates.

Full Content: Reuters

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