Past Cases

LIBOR Antitrust Litigation (Exchange Traded Class)

Status Past Case

Practice area Securities Litigation & Investor Protection Antitrust

Court U.S. District Court , Southern District of New York

Case number 1:11-cv-02613/11-md-02262


Cohen Milstein played a significant role in representing the putative Exchange-Based Plaintiffs class that was a part of In re: Libor-Based Financial Instruments Antitrust Litigation, a large multi-district litigation (MDL) that was consolidated before the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in 2011.

Plaintiffs alleged that starting January 1, 2003 and through May 31, 2011, 16 of the world’s largest banks that helped set the daily London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), colluded to depress LIBOR by violating the rate‐setting rules. As a result of their actions, these banks allegedly underreported their borrowing costs, artificially driving down LIBOR, while helping make their banks appear more robust.

Members of the Exchange-Based Plaintiffs class, who traded Eurodollar Futures tied to LIBOR through public exchanges, such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, alleged that the banks’ manipulation of U.S. Dollar LIBOR, forced them to trade Eurodollar futures contracts at artificial price levels, whereby they paid higher supracompetitive prices or received lower infracompetitive prices than they would have absent the banks’ manipulation, in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and Commodity Exchange Act

On September 17, 2020, after significant litigation, the Court granted final approval of a $187 million settlement between the Exchange-Based Plaintiffs and seven of the 16 banks, including Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., ($15 million); Barclays PLC, ($19.975 million); Citigroup Inc ($33.4 million); Deutsche Bank AG ($80 million); HSBC ($18.5 million); JPMorgan Chase ($15 million); and Societe Generale ($5.125 million).  On April 26, 2024, the Court preliminarily approved an additional $3.45 in settlements against the remaining defendants.

The combined settlements totaling more than $190 million represent the largest recovery in a “futures-only” commodities class action litigation.

For more information on the Exchange-Based Plaintiffs litigation and settlement process, please visit U.S. Dollar Libor Eurodollar Settlements

Case Background

The London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) was a benchmark interest rate that served as a foundation for trillions of dollars of fixed-income financial products worldwide.

To set the daily LIBOR for the U.S. dollar and nine of the world’s largest currencies, a panel of 16 banks report to the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) the rate at which they would borrow from other financial institutions on that same day. Based on this data, Thomson Reuters then calculated LIBOR on behalf of the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) for that day. The BBA first began setting LIBOR in 1986.

The 16 banks involved in setting LIBOR included Bank of America Corp., Barclays PLC, Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lloyds Banking Group PLC, Portigon AG, Rabobank, Royal Bank of Canada, Societe Generale, The Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, and UBS Group AG.

At the time of the alleged manipulation, no regulatory agency oversaw the setting of LIBOR. The resultant rates were not filed with, or subject to the approval of, any regulatory agency.

Plaintiffs claim that starting as early as 2003 and continuing through the global financial crisis, the banks underreported their borrowing costs, artificially driving down LIBOR to favor their trades and to hide their weaknesses.

It was not until 2011, when U.S. and European regulators started investigating Barclays, Bank of America, and Citigroup for their roles in manipulating the LIBOR rates did the truth come out. Institutional investors, which bought financial instruments directly tied to LIBOR, such as Eurodollar Futures or interest-rate swaps, started filing numerous class actions.

In August 2011, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated the first seven antirust class actions in the Southern District of New York. Ultimately, a number of class action groups were created by the JPML, the Over-the-Counter class and the Exchange-Based Plaintiffs class being among the largest class actions.

Other Plaintiff groups included financial institutions, which bought financial instruments from banks involved in setting LIBOR, municipalities, pension funds, and individuals who owned debt securities and were paid interest based on LIBOR.

In June 2012, Barclays Bank was the first to admit to U.S. and U.K. regulators its involvement in LIBOR manipulation. Barclays was fined more than $400 million by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Financial Services Authority for manipulating the LIBOR and Euribor rates.

Months later, UBS agreed to pay U.S., U.K., and Swiss regulators more than $1.5 billion for its role in the scandal, and in 2015, Deutsche Bank agreed to pay a combined $2.5 billion in fines to U.S. and U.K. regulators.

On June 30, 2023, the U.S. dollar LIBOR bank panel ceased to operate.

The Exchange-Based Plaintiffs class action was originally filed as FTC Capital GMBH et al v. Credit Suisse Group AG et al., Case No. 1:11-cv-02613, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York