In November 2018, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan preliminarily approved a $7 million settlement with JPMorgan for U.S. investors who traded in or held Australian Bank Bill Swap Reference Rate (BBSW) based derivatives. BBSW is intended to represent the cost of borrowing funds in the Australian interbank money market. As the first settlement in this action, it serves as the “ice breaker” and may be a catalyst for resolutions with other Defendants. In litigation filed August 2016, Plaintiffs alleged some of the largest financial institutions and two major brokerage firms generated hundreds of millions of illicit profits by conspiring to artificially fix BBSW-based derivatives prices at levels that benefited their trading books. In 2016, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”) initiated proceedings against three BBSW panel banks that revealed evidence of the conspiracy among BBSW panel banks and interdealer brokers. This evidence followed the ASIC’s settlements in 2013 and 2014, where three other panel members admitted to making false BBSW submissions to manipulate the rate for their financial benefit.
The case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Dennis, et al. v. JPMorgan Chase & Co., et al. No. 1:16-cv-06496.