US: Goldman Sachs, UBS, and HSBC cleared in metals antitrust case

A US judge on Tuesday significantly narrowed private litigation accusing several big banks and German chemical giant BASF of conspiring to suppress platinum and palladium prices.

US District Judge Gregory Woods in Manhattan dismissed claims against BASF, Switzerland’s UBS Group, South Africa’s Standard Bank and the London Platinum and Palladium company fixing.

In a 104-page decision in the proposed class-action case, Woods said dismissal was appropriate because of a lack of proof these defendants conspired to fix prices, had sufficient ties to the United States, or both.

In deciding to limit recovery to plaintiffs that trade directly with the defendants, Woods reached a different decision on standing than fellow Judge Valerie E. Caproni reached in gold and silver antitrust suits, which are currently in discovery.

The judge also dismissed claims that Goldman Sachs  and HSBC Holdings violated the US antitrust law saying the plaintiffs were not “efficient enforcers” of that law. Woods reasoned that allowing suit by all who lost money during these transactions against the banks that set the benchmark would overextend antitrust liability. That liability would be disproportionate to the original wrong, he said. In burgeoning derivatives markets, the biggest banks in the world would suffer major damages because of trebling.

Full Content: Bloomberg

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