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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

LIBOR Claims Now Include Explicit Conspiracy Allegations Against Multiple Banks

The LIBOR litigation is now officially moving into conspiracy claims. Alison Frankel has the story – a key excerpt is below:

"That defense won’t fly in the Euribor case because Barclays has already provided regulators with evidence that it worked with other banks to manipulate the rate. The Euribor complaint cited a filing in the CFTC’s case against Barclays, which disclosed a 2007 scheme, coordinated by Barclays senior euro swaps traders and extending to "traders at multiple banks," to fix Euribor rates to improve the traders’ futures positions. The plan, according to the CFTC, "involved multiple and successive requests … to Barclays’ Euribor submitters and traders at other banks to lower the three-month Euribor submission." (The complaint doesn’t cite this passage, but the CFTC filing referred to a Barclays trader who "spoke daily with traders at certain panel banks concerning their respective derivatives positions in order to determine how to change the official … Euribor fixing in a manner that benefited their derivatives positions.")

Jason Zweig of Hagens Berman, who filed the new complaint, told me his firm had been monitoring bank disclosures about worldwide regulatory investigations of short-term interest rate manipulation and tracking the tidbits that have emerged fromthose investigations. The Barclays settlement was the "tipping point" for the Euribor case, he said. "Barclays admitted to colluding," Zweig said. "We felt we had enough for a complaint."

"Authorities around the world are now considering action against more than 10 big banks, including UBS, JPMorgan and Citigroup. The banks also face a raft of civil litigation from municipalities, investors and other financial firms that claim they lost money from the misreporting of rates. These lawsuits could end up costing the banking industry tens of billions of dollars, according to analysts."

Meanwhile, stories say that an overseas plaintiff’s firm – Australia’s Slater & Gordon – has been approached about a potential class action for Australian interests.

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