(Reuters) – A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lengthy antitrust lawsuit that accused 10 of the world’s largest banks of conducting two mergers with each other to suppress competition in the now $ 23.2 trillion US government securities market.
U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan said the 18 plaintiffs – including pension and pension funds, banks and companies that traded in government bonds – failed to address shortcomings he discovered a year ago when he rejected an earlier version of their proposed class action lawsuit. .
The defendants include Bank of America, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, NatWest Group and UBS, as well as the trading platform operator Tradeweb Markets.
Traders accused the banks of collaborating between 2007 and 2015 to use chat rooms to exchange confidential customer orders and coordinate strategies in a so-called “auction conspiracy”.
They also accused Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley of using their market power since 2013 by boycotting electronic trading platforms that offered “anonymous” trading and better prices.
But in a 74-page decision, Judge Gardephe said recently introduced evidence of chat snippets, statistical analyzes of banks’ trading and alleged pressure to boycott disadvantaged platforms was not enough to establish illegal collusion.
Unlike a year ago, the judge said he will not let the plaintiffs change their complaint again.
“There is no reason to believe that further change would be productive,” Judge Gardephe wrote.
Dan Brockett, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in an email: “We are reviewing the opinion and will look at and consider all options on behalf of the class.”
The trial began in July 2015, following news reports that the US Department of Justice was investigating whether the banks had manipulated the financial markets.
The case is about: Treasuries Securities Auction Antitrust Litigation, US District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 15-md-02673.