Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Bank of America Corp., UBS AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co. were sued by a California public utility over claims they rigged sales of municipal derivatives and shared illegal profits through kickbacks.
The lawsuit, filed by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, is based on federal and state antitrust claims. It alleges Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America and more than a dozen other banks conspired to pre-select winners of municipal derivative auctions, coordinated their pricing, and accepted kickbacks disguised as fees from co-conspirators.
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The allegations resemble those made by a U.S. grand jury in New York last month, according to the lawsuit filed Nov. 12 in federal court in Sacramento. CDR Financial Products Inc. founder David Rubin and two employees of the Beverly Hills, California- based company were indicted for allegedly accepting kickbacks on investments sold to local governments. CDR is also named as a defendant in the Sacramento case.
The banks engaged in “allocating customers and markets for municipal derivatives, rigging the bidding process by which municipal bond issuers acquire municipal derivatives, and conspiring to manipulate the terms that issuers received,” according to the lawsuit.
This article was posted: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 9:47 am