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Barclays to Pay $20 Million, Assist Libor Plaintiffs

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Barclays Plc (BARC) agreed to pay $20 million and cooperate with a group of Eurodollar-futures traders suing other banks, to settle litigation over manipulation of the benchmark London interbank offered rate.

The accord, reached Oct. 8, resolves claims by people and firms that traded in Libor-based Eurodollar futures contracts and options on exchanges including the Chicago Mercantile Exchange from Jan. 1, 2005, to May 31, 2010. Lawyers for the traders disclosed the agreement yesterday in a letter to U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan, who must approve the settlement for it to take effect.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers argued in support of the settlement, the first in the U.S. antitrust litigation over Libor-linked investments, that they intend it to act as an “ice-breaker” encouraging other defendants to settle. As part of the deal, Barclays agreed to help with the traders’ claims against other banks and potential defendants who haven’t been named.

Barclays will “provide important information, documents and other cooperation to plaintiffs that will enable plaintiffs to name new defendants, make new allegations against existing defendants and otherwise improve plaintiffs’ claims against the new and existing non-settling defendants,” the traders said in their proposed brief.

Court Conference

In the letter, the traders asked for a court conference before filing a motion to seek formal approval of the settlement.

“We’re hoping this is the start of some measure of compensation for our clients,” David Kovel, one of the lead lawyers for the traders, said in a phone interview.

Kovel said he hopes the settlement and Barclays’s cooperation will spur other banks to resolve claims with the class.

Global authorities have investigated claims that more than a dozen banks altered submissions used to set benchmarks such as Libor to profit from bets on interest-rate derivatives or make the lenders’ finances appear healthier.

Barclays was fined 290 million pounds ($469 million) by U.S. and U.K. authorities in 2012 for submitting false London and euro interbank offered rates.

Narrowed Claims

The traders’ suit is one of dozens of federal cases consolidated in Buchwald’s court. The judge narrowed the claims in a March 2013 ruling that dismissed federal antitrust and racketeering claims.

“Barclays is pleased to have reached an agreement to settle in this matter -- it is a step forward in resolving another legacy issue,” Mark Lane, a spokesman for the London-based bank, said in an e-mail.

The stock rose 0.7 percent to 231.05 pence as of 8:08 a.m. in London trading today.

Other banks sued over alleged Libor manipulation include JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. (C)

The case is in re Libor-Based Financial Instruments Antitrust Litigation, 1:11-md-02262, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Article Credit: Bloomberg

Updated 4 Years ago

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Tags:     Barclays Plc     Chicago Mercantile     Naomi Reice Buchwald     David Kovel     Mark Lane     Bank of America Corp