ISDAFix-Rigging Lawsuits Against Bank of America, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, and Others May Proceed, Says Judge

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman has turned down the request by Barclays Plc (BARC), Bank of America Corp. (BAC), Deutsche Bank AG (DB), Citigroup Inc. (C), Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS), BNP Paribas SA, Credit Suisse Group AG (CS), HSBC Holdings Plc, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), UBS AG (UBS), JPMorgan Chase & CO. (JPM), Wells Fargo & CO. (WFC), and Nomura Holdings Inc. to dismiss the antitrust lawsuits accusing them of working together to rig the ISDAfix. The benchmark rate is used to establish prices on commercial real estate mortgages, interest-rate swap transactions, and other securities. Another defendant is ICAP Plc, which brokered transactions that set the rate for ISDAfix.

Furman said that plaintiff Alaska Electrical Pension Fund and other investors have brought up “plausible allegations” that there may have been a conspiracy between the defendants that allowed them to collude with one another. The investors are seeking billions of dollars in losses they believe they sustained because ISDAFix was allegedly rigged. In this case, the judge let the breach-of-contract claims and antirust claims proceed to trial but dismissed the other claims.

It was in 2009 that the banks began using private communication, including electronic chat rooms, to establish ISDAfix. Investors claim that the financial institutions usually turned in rate quotes that were identical.

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U.S. judge rejects 14 banks’ bid to throw out rate-rigging lawsuit
, Reuters, March 28, 2016

Banks Ordered to Defend Suit Claiming Benchmark Rate Rigging, Bloomberg, March 28, 2016