UPDATE 1-U.S. judge finds for banks, dismisses most claims in Libor lawsuits

Fri Mar 29, 2013 6:00pm EDT
 
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By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK, March 29 (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Friday dismissed a "substantial portion" of claims facing a number of banks in a barrage of lawsuits accusing them of interest-rate rigging.

U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan ruled for the banks, which include Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co and others, of allegedly manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate, commonly known as Libor.

The judge granted the banks' motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' federal antitrust claims and partially dismissed their claims of commodities manipulation. She also dismissed racketeering and state-law claims.

The decision is a significant setback for private plaintiffs, whose lawsuits had been consolidated before the New York judge as part of a multidistrict litigation proceeding.

In a 161-page opinion, Buchwald said she recognized her ruling might be "unexpected," since several defendants had paid billions of dollars in penalties to government regulatory agencies.

But she said unlike government agencies, private plaintiffs needed to meet many requirements under the statutes to bring a case.

"Therefore, although we are fully cognizant of the settlements that several of the defendants here have entered into with government regulators, we find that only some of the claims that plaintiffs have asserted may properly proceed," she wrote.   Continued...