Scott+Scott serves as interim co-lead counsel in In re: European Government Bonds Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 1:19-cv-02601 (S.D.N.Y.) – a class action involving European Government Bonds, sovereign debt issued by European governments that have adopted the Euro as their official currency, including Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Spain. Plaintiffs allege that the world’s largest dealers of European Government Bonds agreed to collusively bid above the market price for European Government Bonds issued at auction, guaranteeing themselves a dominant share of supply of newly-auctioned bonds. Defendants profited from this misconduct in the primary market by selling bonds purchased at auction at artificially inflated prices to institutional investors. Defendants also agreed to widen bid-ask spreads, i.e., the difference between the buy and sell prices quoted to customers, in the secondary market for European Government Bonds, thereby charging investors increased prices for purchases and paying investors decreased prices for sales of bonds. The Court has upheld Plaintiffs’ antitrust claim against Nomura Securities International Inc., Nomura International PLC, and Natixis S.A.
The European Commission (“EC”) recently announced that Bank of America, Natixis, Nomura, RBS (now NatWest), UBS, UniCredit, and WestLB violated EU antitrust rules through the participation of a group of traders in a cartel in the primary and secondary market for European Government Bonds. The EC imposed a fine of roughly €371 million (or $454.4 million) against Nomura, UBS, and UniCredit. The EC’s infringement decision has not been publicly released.
In addition, a cooperating bank has provided Plaintiffs with direct evidence of Defendants’ price coordination in electronic chat rooms, which Plaintiffs have incorporated into their Fourth Amended Complaint.
Link to press release regarding €371 million in fines issued by the European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_2565
Link to Law360 article publicizing the Court’s decision on Defendants’ motion to dismiss the Third Amended Complaint: https://www.law360.com/articles/1295063
Link to Wolters Kluwer article regarding the Court’s order permitting Plaintiffs additional time to identify in writing new Plaintiffs proposed to be named in the amended complaint: https://lrus.wolterskluwer.com/news/antitrust-law-daily/additional-time-to-name-plaintiffs-granted-in-european-government-bonds-price-fixing-suit/125364/