By ROBERT KAHN
(CN) – Bank of America and other heavy hitters defrauded cities and counties by conspiring to fix, and lie about, the LIBOR rates, four California counties and cities and a Bay Area utilities district claim in separate federal antitrust complaints.
The London Interbank Offered Rate is the rate banks charge one another for short-term loans necessary to carry on their business. More than $300 trillion in financial derivatives are tied to LIBOR rates.
Barclays Bank last year settled criminal allegations of fixing LIBOR rates, leading to multiple lawsuits and investigations of major banks on at least two continents.
Barclays’ plea agreement is attached as an exhibit to Riverside’s 156-page filing.
Many many banks were accused of profiting by misreporting LIBOR rates, inflating or deflating them to profit from trades – in essence, picking advantageous rates after trades had been concluded.
The five federal complaints, all filed this week, came from the City of Riverside and the Riverside Public Financing Authority, in Los Angeles Federal Court; the County of San Diego, in San Diego Federal Court; San Mateo County, in Oakland Federal Court; and the City of Richmond and the East Bay Municipal Utility District, in separate complaints in San Francisco Federal Court. All have similar defendants and make similar charges.
They all seek disgorgement, restitution and treble damages for antitrust violations, fraud and deceit, negligent misrepresentation, interference with economic advantage, breach of faith and unjust enrichment.
Here are the defendants in Riverside’s complaint: Bank of America Corp.; Bank of America NA; Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd.; Barclays Bank PLC; Citigroup Inc.; Citibank NA; Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank BA (Rabobank); Credit Suisse Group AG; Deutsche Bank AG; HSBC Holdings PLC; HSBC Bank PLC; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; JPMorgan Chase Bank NA; Lloyds Banking Group PLC; HBOS PLC; Royal Bank of Canada; The Norinchukin Bank; Societe Generale SA; The Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC; UBS AG; Westlb AG; and Westdeutsche Immobilienbank AG.
All the plaintiffs are represented by Nanci Nishimura with Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, of Burlingame, and by their house counsel.