Several leading banks including Barclays Bank PLC, Citibank NA, and JP Morgan Chase & Co. were accused of conspiring to control the credit default swaps (CDS) market, according to an antitrust lawsuit filed by LBBW Asset Management, a German Bank, in Illinois federal court.
LBBW alleged that the banks violated the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Act by knowingly restraining CDS trade. According to the complaint, “[t] he contract, combination or conspiracy consisted of a continuing agreement, understanding or concerted action between and among defendants and their co-conspirators in furtherance of which defendants fixed, raised, maintained or stabilized bid-ask spreads on CDS transactions during the class period,” the complaint says. “Defendants’ conspiracy constitutes a per se violation of the federal antitrust laws and is, in any event, an unreasonable and unlawful restraint of trade.”
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