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Charles Schwab Sues Banks Over Rate Manipulation
New York Times Dealbook
August 25, 2011
The New York Times Dealbook reports:
Charles Schwab, the brokerage firm and investment manager, sued 11 major banks on Tuesday, claiming they conspired to manipulate a borrowing benchmark used to set interest rates.
In a pair of lawsuits filed in the Federal District Court in San Francisco, the firm accused the banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, of colluding to depress the London Interbank Offered Rate. That conspiracy, the suits allege, allowed the banks to artificially deflate the numbers used to calculate the benchmark, thereby throwing off interest rates for Libor-based securities and depriving investors of the returns they would have earned had the numbers been accurate.
In one suit, Charles Schwab alleges that the banks “reaped hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in ill-gotten gains.” The firm also alleges that by falsely depressing their borrowing costs, the banks “provided a false or misleading impression of their financial strength to investors” during the financial crisis of 2008.