silvervigilante.com / By SV / March 5, 2013
The big financials are begging a judge to dismiss Libor lawsuits from customers accusing them of interest-rate rigging. The banks argued Tuesday that the cases should be dismissed, because there is no evidence of antitrust or other violations. Plaintiffs including community banks and local governments have sued Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and other for manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate, commonly known as Libor.
At a hearing in front of US District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan, lawyers for the banks urged the cases be dismissed before trial. The cases include proposed class action lawsuits regarding violations of antitrust law and the Commodities Exchange Act, responsible for regulating the trading of commodity futures in the US.
Bank of America’s lawyer Robert Wise argued that there is no documented agreement among the banks to keep Libor low. He also told the judge the banks did not limit trade since Libor is an estimate they provide on their borrowing costs, not a price for a product.
“Libor is not something that is bought, or sold, or traded,” said Wise. Buchwald questions the plaintiffs’ attorneys on that arguments, noting that even if banks supressed Libor they still competed against each other for business once the rates were set.