Five banks sued in US for rigging $9tr agency bond market

NEW YORK: Five major banks and four traders were sued on Wednesday in a private lawsuit in the United States claiming they conspired to rig prices worldwide in a more than $9 trillion market for bonds issued by government-linked organisations and agencies.

Bank of America Corp, Credit Agricole SA, Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG and Nomura Holdings Inc were accused of secretly agreeing to widen the “bid-ask” spreads they quoted customers of supranational, sub-sovereign and agency (SSA) bonds.

The lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court by the Boston Retirement System said the collusion dates to at least 2005, was conducted through chatrooms and instant messaging, and caused investors to overpay for bonds they bought or accept low prices for bonds they sold.

“Only through collusion could a dealer quote a wider spread than market conditions otherwise dictate without losing market share and profits,” the complaint said.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2016

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