An appeals court in the United States has reinstated private antitrust lawsuits filed against 16 major banks for allegedly rigging Libor rates. The banks, including JPMorgan, Bank of America and Citigroup, could face combined bills running into billions of dollars if the claims accusing them of collusion in manipulating Libor succeed.
The claims had previously been dismissed when District Judge Naomi Buchwald said in 2013 that the banks' alleged actions did not violate federal antitrust laws. However, a three-judge panel in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found that the plaintiffs, including the local governments of a number of US cities that owned a number of financial instruments affected by Libor, had successfully made a case for an antitrust injury "by alleging that they paid artificially fixed higher prices".
Meanwhile, in another court of appeal hearing, a $1.27 billion penalty against Bank of America for alleged mortgage fraud leading up to the financial crisis has been voided. The court found there was insufficient evidence to establish the bank's liability over the so-called "Hustle" mortgage programme.
SWIFT, the interbank messaging service, has revealed that it is launching a new security initative in response to the Bangladesh Bank cyber heist, which yielded $81 million for the thieves, and two other attacks on banks utilising the SWIFT system.
SWIFT's chief executive, Gottfried Leibbrandt is to tell a financial services conference in Brussels that the Bangladesh Bank heist was a "watershed event for the banking industry," according to Reuters: "There will be a before and an after Bangladesh. The Bangladesh fraud is not an isolated incident...this is a big deal. And it gets to the heart of banking."
Among the measures SWIFT will call for, it wants banks to improve information sharing and heighten security in relation to SWIFT. It will also offer improved guidelines for authorities to use in assessing banks' SWIFT security. SWIFT has maintained that the attacks on the three banks came about as a result of failings at the banks in question.
South Africa's Standard Bank has revealed that it lost $19 million in a coordinated card fraud incident in Japan where thieves used counterfeit cards to withdraw cash from ATMs. "Standard Bank has taken swift action to contain the matter and the gross loss to the bank is estimated at 300 million rand. This is prior to any potential recoveries that may serve to reduce the loss," the bank said.
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