U.S. district judge dismisses antitrust claims in Libor lawsuit

GavelOn Friday, in a victory for the world’s largest banks, a U.S. district judge dismissed a large number of claims accusing the banks of rigging Libor.

Sixteen banks, including Bank of America, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and JPMorgan Chase, have faced claims totaling billions of dollars in lawsuits stemming from the recent Libor scandal, in which global banks allegedly colluded to rig a key interest rate tied to trillions of dollars’ worth of derivatives, The New York Times reports.

Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan said in the ruling her decision to grant the banks’ motion to dismiss federal antitrust claims, as well as the plaintiffs’ claims and racketeering and state-law claims, may be “unexpected,” according to The New York Times.

Judge Buchwald did, however, allow a portion of the lawsuit pertaining to banks’ alleged manipulation of Libor and subsequent harm to traders to proceed. The decision could provide the banks with an advantage in potential settlement talks.

In the 161-page ruling, Judge Buchwald said the banks’ alleged conduct did not breach federal antitrust laws because Libor-setting was a “cooperative endeavor” that was “never intended to be competitive,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Since the Libor investigation began, analysts have estimated that the total cost to banks could range between $7.8 billion to $176 billion.

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