Commodities Litigation

Lowey Dannenberg:
pioneering the prosecution of
Commodities Manipulation

Achieving landmark results and historic recoveries under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).

Lowey has pioneered prosecution of the most important and complex commodity manipulation actions since the enactment of the Commodities Exchange Act (CEA) against some of the world’s largest financial institutions, achieving landmark decisions and record-breaking recoveries.

Lowey has experience successfully pursuing litigation against highly sophisticated defendants with deep resources, including many of the world’s largest financial institutions. Lowey has served as lead, co-lead, or individual plaintiff’s counsel in the alleged manipulation of global benchmark interbank offered rates such as the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), Tokyo Interbank Offered Rate (“Euroyen TIBOR”), Euribor, and others.

Representative Cases

Ongoing Prosecution of Leading CEA and Market Manipulation Class Actions

Euribor. In February 2013, Lowey Dannenberg filed a proposed class action against global financial institutions responsible for setting the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor), a global reference rate used to benchmark and price settle more than $200 trillion of financial products, including Euribor futures contracts traded on the NYSE LIFFE exchange. Lowey Dannenberg secured settlement agreements from three of the defendants— Barclays, Deutsche Bank, and HSBC —totaling $309 million. The Court has granted final approval to all three settlements.

The case is currently pending before Judge P. Kevin Castel and the litigation is ongoing. Defendants settled with global regulators, paid billions in fines, and were granted ACPERA conditional leniency from the DOJ for alleged anti-competitive conduct in the Euribor market.

Sullivan v. Barclays PLC et al., Case No. 13-cv-2811 (S.D.N.Y.)

Yen-LIBOR. Lowey Dannenberg is currently serving as the court-appointed lead class counsel in two proposed class actions against many of the world’s largest financial institutions responsible for setting the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) for the Japanese Yen and the Euroyen Tokyo Interbank Offered Rate. Lowey Dannenberg has already recovered $206 million for investors in these cases after resolving claims against defendants JPMorgan, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank AG, and HSBC. A proposed $30 million settlement with the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. and Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Bank Corporation has been preliminarily approved.

The case is still ongoing, alleging that the financial institutions manipulated these global benchmark rates to profit in their Yen-LIBOR and Euroyen-based derivatives positions at the expense of other market investors. Defendants in the case pled guilty to criminal charges of price-fixing and paid multi-billion dollar fines to regulators. Defendant UBS AG was granted conditional leniency from the U.S. Department of Justice pursuant to the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act for alleged anti-competitive conduct related to the Euroyen market.

Laydon v. Mizuho Bank, Ltd. et al., Case No. 12-cv-3419 (S.D.N.Y.); Sonterra Capital Master Fund Ltd. et al. v. UBS AG et al, Case No. 15-cv-05844 (S.D.N.Y.)

Swiss franc LIBOR. In February 2015, Lowey Dannenberg filed a proposed class action against global financial institutions responsible for setting the London Interbank Offered Rate for the Swiss Franc (Swiss Franc LIBOR). Defendants settled with global regulators, paid billions in fines and were granted leniency by the European Commission for alleged anti-competitive conduct in the Swiss Franc LIBOR and Swiss Franc LIBOR derivatives market. Defendant JP Morgan agreed to a $22 million settlement and Judge Sidney Stein preliminary approved this settlement on August 16, 2017. Judge Stein issued a decision on Defendants’ motions to dismiss on September 25, 2017, finding personal jurisdiction over all of the bank defendants and granting leave to amend the complaint.

Sonterra Capital Master Fund Ltd. v. Credit Suisse Group AG et al., Case No. 15-cv-0871 (S.D.N.Y.)

SIBOR/SOR. Lowey Dannenberg filed a proposed class action in July 2015 alleging that the 20 global financial institutions responsible for setting the Singapore Interbank Offered Rate (“SIBOR”) and the Singapore Swap Offer Rate (“SOR”) manipulated these benchmark rates to benefit their own derivatives positions at the expense of U.S. investors. The Monetary Authority of Singapore investigated, finding manipulation by these financial institutions in SIBOR and SOR, imposing fines and other remedial measures. In August 2017, Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein sustained plaintiffs’ Sherman Act claims against defendants Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase Bank.

FrontPoint Asian Event Driven Fund, L.P. v. Citibank, N.A., et al., 16-cv-5263 (S.D.N.Y.)

FX Manipulation. Lowey Dannenberg represents the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and Participating Food Industry Employers Tri-State Pension Fund in a proposed class action against global financial institutions and leading FX market dealers for allegedly manipulating the foreign currency exchange (FX) market. Settlements with 15 defendants so far total $2.3 billion dollars.

In re Foreign Exchange Benchmark Rates Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 13-cv-7789 (S.D.N.Y.)

Sterling LIBOR. Lowey Dannenberg filed a proposed class action in May 2015 against global financial institutions responsible for setting the Sterling London Interbank Offered Rate (Sterling LIBOR) for allegedly colluding to manipulate Sterling LIBOR to increase their profits at the expense of investors. Defendants settled with global regulators for billions and admitted to manipulating Sterling LIBOR. The case is currently pending before Judge Vernon S. Broderick.

Sonterra Capital Master Fund, Ltd. v. Barclays Bank PLC, No. 15-cv-3538 (S.D.N.Y.)

Australian Bank Bill Swap Reference Rate (BBSW). Lowey Dannenberg filed a proposed class action in August 2016 alleging that global financial institutions responsible for setting the Bank Bill Swap Reference Rate (“BBSW”), the primary interest rate benchmark used to price and settle Australian dollar-denominated derivatives, colluded to manipulate the benchmark rate to profit in their related derivatives positions at the expense of investors. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Limited and National Australia Bank have settled with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, agreeing to pay $100 million AUD in fines and admitting to wrongdoing. This case is currently pending before Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.

Dennis, et al. v. JPMorgan Chase & Co., et al., Case No. 16-cv-06496-LAK (S.D.N.Y.)

“Thank you all very much, and congratulations on achieving what appears to be a very fine settlement. I know counsel worked very hard on this, and I appreciate the efforts of all involved in the case.”

~ Hon. P. Kevin Castel, United States District Judge

Landmark Outcomes

In a class action alleging that global financial institutions manipulated the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor), Lowey Dannenberg secured $309 million settlements from Defendants Barclays, Deutsche Bank, and HSBC, which the Hon. Judge P. Kevin Castel preliminary approved and praised.

“Thank you all very much, and congratulations on achieving what appears to be a very fine settlement. I know counsel worked very hard on this, and I appreciate the efforts of all involved in the case.”

~ Hon. P. Kevin Castel, United States District Judge

Landmark Outcomes

In a class action alleging that global financial institutions manipulated the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor), Lowey Dannenberg secured $309 million settlements from Defendants Barclays, Deutsche Bank, and HSBC, which the Hon. Judge P. Kevin Castel  approved and praised.

Additional Notable Achievements

Sumitomo Copper. The court appointed Lowey Dannenberg as one of three executive committee members to represent investors who traded in COMEX copper futures. The case alleged that financial institutions conspired with Tokyo-based trading company Sumitomo Corp. to manipulate the market and raise prices for Sumitomo’s copper holdings. Lowey secured a $149 million settlement for the certified class of copper futures traders, the largest class action recovery in the history of the CEA at the time.

In re Sumitomo Copper Litigation, Master File No. 96 CV 4854 (S.D.N.Y.)

Amaranth. Lowey Dannenberg served as co-lead counsel in a certified class action representing investors harmed when Amaranth Advisors LLC, one of the largest natural gas hedge funds prior to its collapse in September 2006, allegedly used its market power to manipulate NYMEX natural gas futures and options contract prices. In April 2012, a District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York approved a $77.1 million settlement. The amount overshadowed the $7.5 million joint settlement negotiated by government regulators and represented the then fourth largest class action recovery in the history of the CEA.

In re: Amaranth Natural Gas Commodity Litigation, Case No. 07 Civ. 6377 (SAS) (S.D.N.Y.)

Natural Gas. Lowey Dannenberg served as co-lead counsel to represent New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) natural gas futures traders against the nation’s largest natural gas marketing companies. More than 20 of the largest energy companies allegedly manipulated the price of natural gas futures contracts traded on the NYMEX by falsely reporting transaction data to publications that compile and publish the price benchmarks used to settle and price global trade. The alleged manipulation undermined the entire pricing structure in the U.S. natural gas market, including the price of NYMEX natural gas futures contracts. Lowey achieved nearly $101 million in settlement, the then third largest recovery in the history of the CEA.

In re: Natural Gas Commodity Litigation, Case No. 03 Civ. 6186 (S.D.N.Y.)

PIMCO. Lowey Dannenberg represented lead class representative Richard Hershey in a certified class action against Pacific Investment Management Corp. (“PIMCO”) for manipulating the multi-billion-dollar market of U.S. 10-Year Treasury Note futures contracts. The case settled in 2011 for $118.75 million, the then second largest recovery in the CEA’s history.

Hershey v. Pacific Investment Management Corp., Case No. 05 Civ. 4681 (RAG) (N.D.Ill.)

Optiver Crude Oil, Gasoline and Heating Oil Manipulation. Lowey Dannenberg served as co-lead counsel in a proposed class action involving the alleged manipulation of NYMEX light sweet crude oil, heating oil and gasoline futures contracts prices by Optiver US, LLC and other Optiver defendants. In June 2015, the Court granted final approval to a $16.75 million settlement with defendants.

In re: Optiver Commodities Litigation, Case No. 08-cv-6842 (S.D.N.Y.)

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