Barclays in US$94m Euribor accord, other banks could follow

2 min read
Jon Stempel

(Reuters) - Barclays Plc agreed to pay US$94m to settle US antitrust litigation by investors that accused 11 banks of conspiring to manipulate the benchmark Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor) and related derivatives.

The London-based bank is the first defendant to settle, according to court papers filed late Friday in federal court in Manhattan.

Kenneth Feinberg, a prominent mediator who helped broker the accord, said in an affidavit “this first and early settlement with Barclays provides plaintiffs with a precedent and settlement structure that may encourage other interested defendants to settle.”

Barclays’ preliminary settlement requires court approval.

Other defendants include BNP Paribas SA, Citigroup Inc, Credit Agricole SA, Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings Plc, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Rabobank BA, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Societe Generale SA and UBS AG. The electronic broker-dealer ICAP Plc is also a defendant.

Barclays spokesman Mark Lane declined to comment. Representatives for the other defendants declined to comment or did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The plaintiff investors included the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, or CalSTRS, one of the world’s largest public pension funds. Lawyers for the plaintiffs were not immediately available for comment.

The defendants were accused of violating the Sherman Act, a US antitrust law, by conspiring to rig Euribor and fix prices of Euribor-based derivatives from June 2005 to March 2011 to benefit their own positions.

Barclays reached US$453m in settlements with US and British regulators in June 2012, admitting it manipulated Libor and Euribor.

Several other defendants have reached similar deals, including Deutsche Bank’s US$2.5bn accord in April and UBS’ US$1.5bn accord in December 2012.

The European Union in December 2013 fined defendants including Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Rabobank and RBS a combined €1.7bn – US$2.3bn at the time – to settle rate-rigging charges.

Feinberg has overseen programs to compensate victims of the Sept. 11 2001 attacks and the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, as well as a program to compensate owners of General Motors Co vehicles with defective ignition switches.

The case is Sullivan et al v Barclays Plc, US District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-02811.

Barclays bank logo