Type of Claim: Competition under article 101 TFEU / US Opt-Out
Claim Period: 1 January 2007 – 31 December 2012
Defendants: Eight banks
Governing Law: English law
The allegations are that throughout the claim period, the defendants operated a price-fixing cartel. If proven, the alleged conduct is likely to amount to unlawful anti-competitive behaviour as well as give rise to other causes of action (subject to the particular factual circumstances).
On 31 January 2019, the European Commission informed eight banks of its preliminary view that they had breached EU antitrust rules by colluding, in periods from 2007 to 2012, to distort competition when acquiring and trading European Government Bonds. Traders employed by the banks exchanged commercially sensitive information and coordinated on trading strategies. These contacts allegedly took place mainly, but not exclusively, through online chatrooms.
European Government Bonds are sovereign bonds issued in euros by the central governments of the Eurozone member states.
The Commission’s investigation relates to certain traders at eight banks and does not imply that the alleged anti-competitive conduct was a general practice in the European Government Bond sector.
Several US Class Actions were filed in the United States and on the 26 April 2019 all of the actions were consolidated as “In Re: European Government Bonds Antitrust Litigation” in the Southern District of New York (19-CV-2601). A second consolidated amended complaint was filed by the Plaintiffs on the 6 September 2019 and the defendants indicated in a letter (dated 23 Oct 2019) to the judge that their intention is to file motion(s) to dismiss.
Given the territorial restrictions on US anti-trust claims Stewarts considers that clients, especially non-US clients, may have substantial claims that are not covered by this complaint. Stewarts is investigating whether buyers and sellers may have a claim. If you bought or sold European Government Bonds in the period 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2012, Stewarts would like to discuss potential claims with you.
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