Posted by Deena Khalil.
On Wednesday, November 6, 2014, there was a court hearing about big-time banks being sued for manipulating a financial benchmark, Libor, by “U.S. municipalities and financial funds who argue they suffered financial damages by receiving lower interest rates on transactions as a result of the suspected manipulation.” Libor is short for the London Interbank Offered Rate, and it’s used to set the rates on things worth trillions of dollars such as loans, credit cards, and some complex derivatives. The benchmark is calculated each business day by averaging out interest rates in which banks estimate they could borrow from each other. But these banks have to be within the London trading operations in order to be part of the benchmark. Some of the banks that are being accused are JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America.
Plaintiffs include U.S. municipalities and financial funds who argue they suffered financial damages by receiving lower interest rates on transactions as a result of the suspected manipulation. They allege that evidence gathered by investigators in the U.S., Europe and around the globe shows bank traders involved in the rate-setting process rigged the outcomes to boost their trading profits.
The banks accused are trying to get these cases to be dismissed There are U.S banks that have been struck with billions of dollars in penalties due to Libor manipulation. For example, JPMorgan was fined $78 million by European authorities! Some banks have settled cases, but defendant banks in the present case are seeking to dismiss due to “the lack of personal jurisdiction.” Attorneys “argued the recent Supreme Court rulings established that corporations are ‘at home’ only in their respective countries and in most cases are subject only to lawsuits filed there, not in U.S. courts.” They claim that the Libor manipulation activity occurred outside the U.S.
Deena is a business finance major at Montclair State University, Class of 2017.