On January 15, 2019, Korein Tillery attorneys with four co-counsel firms filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of Putnam Bank alleging a conspiracy since February 2014 to manipulate the daily ICE LIBOR financial benchmark in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
ICE LIBOR benchmark rates are set jointly and published each business day based on daily submissions by a group of multinational banks. Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (“ICE”), which owns and operates the New York Stock Exchange, is the administrator of ICE LIBOR and is charged with calculating the benchmark rate based upon these daily bank submissions. Hundreds of trillions of dollars in floating-rate financial instruments, such as floating-rate notes and interest rate swaps, are indexed to ICE LIBOR.
Putnam Bank, on behalf of a class consisting of all persons or entities residing in the United States that directly transacted with a bank defendant in a USD ICE LIBOR financial instrument, alleges that ICE conspired with 18 of the world’s largest banks to manipulate and depress USD ICE LIBOR submissions and rates. Putnam Bank claims that USD ICE LIBOR submissions and rates were consistently lower than what they should have been from February 1, 2014, through the present. While investigation is ongoing, Putnam Bank claims that the interest rate on excess reserves paid by the Federal Reserve, general collateral rates, and credit default swap spreads of the bank defendants are evidence of the alleged manipulation.
The damages caused by ICE LIBOR suppression are immense. The lawsuit alleges that every basis point movement in USD ICE LIBOR downward would save the bank defendants more than $100 million in payments on such instruments over the class period. Putnam Bank seeks various relief, including treble damages under the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Act.
The bank defendants in the lawsuit are Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Credit Agricole, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Lloyds, Norinchukin, Rabobank, RBC, RBS, Société Générale, Sumitomo, and UBS.
Putnam Bank is represented by Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law LLP, Korein Tillery LLC, Lowey Dannenberg PC, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, and Robins Kaplan LLP.
Individuals or companies who believe that they might have received lower interest payments on their financial instruments due to a depressed ICE LIBOR rate after February 1, 2014, and who are interested in potentially joining the lawsuit are encouraged to contact Steven Berezney of Korein Tillery (314-450-4063; firstname.lastname@example.org).
The case is Putnam Bank v. Intercontinental Exchange Inc., et al., Case No. 1:19-cv-00439 (S.D.N.Y.) (Daniels, J.).