Apr 29, 2013
Last March, federal judge Naomi Buchwald in the Southern District of New York dismissed a major suit against some of the biggest banks in the world, including Barclays, UBS, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and the Royal Bank of Scotland. This suit had been brought by towns and cities, like Baltimore, and pension funds, like the New Britain, Connecticut, Firefighters’ and Police Benefit fund. The suit charged that by manipulating a key interest rate, called LIBOR, the banks had stolen billions of dollars from taxpayers and pension funds.
In strictly legal terms, this suit should have been a slam dunk, especially since the banks had already admitted to manipulating this interest rate and had even paid some fines to the U.S. and British governments. But the banks hired some politically-connected superstar law firms to represent them, and the judge was more than happy to comply.
The judge used a tiny technicality as the excuse to throw the entire suit out, sparing the banks the embarrassment of even having to go to trial. The judge sent a message to the banks: You ripped people off? That’s okay!
The banks aren’t just above the law ... they are the law.