This has the hallmark of being one of the largest U.S. anti-trust settlements, said Daniel Brockett, a lawyer representing a Los Angeles pension fund among other plaintiffs. He said the final terms need to be hammered out, and a judge would still need to approve the deal.
Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and other banks met secretly to kill proposals that would put the trading of these insurance-like products onto an exchange through which they could be bought and sold like stocks and their prices made more transparent, according to a complaint filed in U.S District Court in New York. In keeping trading private in a “rigged” market, the banks cheated investors out of billions of dollars, the complaint alleges. Source: The Big Story
The banks have denied allegations of wrongdoing. They do not face criminal charges.
Another defendant in the suit, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, said in a statement that it is “pleased” that the case is close to resolution and that it is “committed to further developing CDS market structure to ensure the market functions safely and efficiently.”
CDS stands for credit-default swap, a product bought by investors to protect themselves in case governments or companies default on their debts.
Credit default swaps figured prominently in most new financial crisis, and most notably in the near-collapse of American International Group, a giant insurer that sold protection to investors in home mortgages but couldn’t pay out on the policies when the housing market crashed. AIG eventually received $182 billion in a government bailout.