Reuters

Seven big banks settle U.S. rate-rigging lawsuit for $324 million

Seven of the world’s biggest banks have agreed to pay $324 million to settle a private U.S. lawsuit accusing them of rigging an interest rate benchmark used in the $553 trillion derivatives market.

The settlement made public on Tuesday, which requires court approval, resolves antitrust claims against Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Barclays Plc (BARC.L), Citigroup Inc (C.N), Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.S), Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS.L).

Several pension funds and municipalities accused 14 banks, including those that settled, of conspiring to rig the “ISDAfix” benchmark for their own gain from at least 2009 to 2012.

Companies and investors use ISDAfix to price swaps transactions, commercial real estate mortgages and structured debt securities.

The alleged illegal activity included the execution of rapid trades just before the rate was set each day, called “banging the close,” causing the British brokerage ICAP Plc (IAP.L) to delay trades until they moved ISDAfix where they wanted, and posting rates that did not reflect market activity.

(Read the rest here.)