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From Antitrust Law Daily, October 9, 2014

Barclays agrees to $19.975M settlement in LIBOR suit

By Jeffrey May, J.D.

British bank Barclays has agreed to pay $19,975,000 to settle private actions claiming that it conspired to artificially suppress the London Interbank Offer Rate (LIBOR). Plaintiffs' counsel in the multidistrict litigation sent a letter to the federal district court in New York City yesterday, requesting permission to file a motion for preliminary approval of the Exchange-Based Plaintiffs’ settlement with Barclays Bank plc and to conditionally certify a settlement class (In re LIBOR-Based Financial Instruments Antitrust Litigation, 11-MD-2262 (NRB)).

Lovell Stewart Halebian Jacobson LLP—co-lead counsel for the plaintiff class—announced the “ice breaker” settlement on October 7, noting that Barclays is the first of the 16 defendant banks in the class action litigation to settle the allegations with respect to LIBOR manipulation. LIBOR is published by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), a trade association based in London. It is considered the most important benchmark for short-term interest rates in the world and is used to identify banks' short-term borrowing costs. The plaintiffs alleged that the conspiracy suppressed the LIBOR, which directly suppressed the payments on LIBOR-linked financial instruments. In 2012, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission ordered Barclays to pay $200 million in connection with its alleged attempted manipulation of the LIBOR and the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor).

The fate of the plaintiffs’ LIBOR suit is uncertain. In March 2013, the federal district court dismissed the plaintiffs' antitrust and federal racketeering claims against the banks; however, it refused to dismiss a Commodity Exchange Act claim. The Second Circuit later dismissed an appeal with respect to the dismissal of the antitrust claims on jurisdictional grounds.

On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the appellate court's decision that it lacked appellate jurisdiction because a final order had not been issued and the orders appealed from did not dispose of all of the claims in the consolidated action. Argument in that case is scheduled for December 9.

Attorneys: Christopher Lovell (Lovell Stewart Halebian Jacobson LLP) for plaintiffs.

Companies: Barclays Bank plc

MainStory: TopStory Antitrust

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