Banks win 'rate-rigging' dismissals

A group of banks including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase have won dismissal of most of the claims in private lawsuits that they rigged a key interest rate.

US District Judge Naomi Buchwald, sitting in New York, dismissed antitrust claims brought against the banks by a group of plaintiffs that included the City of Baltimore and some pension funds.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%The plaintiffs claimed that they had suffered losses because the banks had manipulated the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor.

The judge said that while the banks had already paid billions of dollars in penalties to government regulatory agencies, private plaintiffs had to satisfy many requirements which governments did not.
Libor is the critical rate banks use to borrow from each other. The rate indirectly affects the cost of loans that people pay when they take them out. It provides the basis for trillions in contracts around the world, including bonds and consumer loans - such as when people buy a home or car.

It is a self-policing system and relies on information that world banks submit to a British banking authority.

Cities and municipal agencies in the US have filed a flurry of lawsuits against some of the banks that set the Libor. They have sought damages for losses they say they suffered as a result of an artificially low rate, which depressed the value of bonds and other investments pegged to the key interest rate.

Last year a US watchdog found that government-controlled mortgage giant Freddie Mac and its larger sibling Fannie Mae together may have lost more than three billion dollars (£2bn) on their investments from banks' rate-rigging.

Last week Freddie Mac sued JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and 12 other big international banks in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, claiming the lenders rigged the key interest rate, causing the lender to incur huge losses.

Two big British banks and Switzerland's largest have been fined hundreds of millions of dollars by US and British regulators for manipulating Libor.

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Banks win 'rate-rigging' dismissals

They might think they're masters of the universe. We know they've dobbed the rest of us in it. After lending out recklessly, they are blamed for causing the financial crisis. Even after they had to be bailed out by taxpayers, they still give themselves obscene bonuses.

Have the power to enter your home and seize your possessions. Debt collectors are a form of bailiff-lite. They can 'only' write, phone or visit your home to talk about the debt. Don't bother bringing out the best china.

Last year's heavy snow meant lost parking revenue, as attendants were stopped from handing out as many tickets as normal. Edinburgh Council lost more than £700k in parking revenue in just two weeks. Expect parking wardens to redouble their efforts as they make up for that in the rest of 2011.

Yes, there are honourable exceptions. There are also reasons why these guys have the reputation they do.

Not as venal as some on the list. But some of these guys would persuade their granny to sell for £50,000 less than her home is really worth. Just so they can get a deal done and take their commission. It's always one story with them when you're selling. Another when you're buying.

Not independent, despite what they claim. Until big changes in the law come into effect in the next couple of years, they are paid on commission. So it's in their interest to stuff clients into whichever products pay them the most - it doesn't matter whether the product is any good or not.

These guys will charge you for yawning. But there's no fighting them. They set up the system and know best how to work it.  The ultimate parasites? But then, they earn so much money what do they care what other people think?

It's 6.30pm, the hour when hell gates open for every parent. The phone rings. It turns out to be a gentleman from Bangladesh, selling you phones in indescribably bad English.

Low barriers to entry mean spamming is on the rise. Experts expect 7 trillion spam messages to be sent this year, costing millions in lost productivity and fraud. Internet service providers are among those worst affected. They have been forced to add extra capacity to carry the messages.

An out-of-place figure on your tax return, or big fluctuation from year to year could be enough to prompt a dreaded tax inspection. Since 2009 HM Revenue and Customers have been able to check a wider range of payments than before. Previously they could only look at VAT and employer returns. Now they have the power to inspect income tax, capital gains, PAYE and corporation tax

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