February 27, 2018 / 10:32 PM / 25 days ago

Deutsche Bank to pay $240 mln to end Libor rigging lawsuit in U.S.

NEW YORK, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank AG has agreed to pay $240 million to settle private U.S. antitrust litigation accusing it of conspiring with other banks to manipulate the Libor benchmark interest rate.

The preliminary settlement with the German bank was disclosed in filings on Tuesday with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, and requires a judge’s approval.

Deutsche Bank is the third bank to resolve claims by so-called “over-the-counter” investors that transacted directly with banks on a panel to determine Libor.

Citigroup Inc reached a similar $130 million settlement last July, while the British bank Barclays Plc settled for $120 million in November 2015.

Deutsche Bank denied wrongdoing, but settled to avoid the risks, costs and distraction of litigation, court papers show.

A spokesman, Troy Gravitt, said the bank was pleased to settle.

Libor, or the London Interbank Offered Rate, is used by banks to set rates on hundreds of trillions of dollars of credit card, mortgage, student loan and other transactions, and to determine the cost of borrowing from each other.

Investors including the city of Baltimore and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut had accused 16 banks of conspiring to manipulate Libor, in the private litigation that began in 2011.

Michael Hausfeld, a lawyer for the investors, in a statement called the Deutsche Bank settlement “an excellent achievement for the class.”

Banks have paid roughly $9 billion to settle Libor-rigging probes worldwide. Last July, the head of the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority said that regulator will phase out Libor by the end of 2021, citing a lack of data to underpin it.

The case is In re: Libor-Based Financial Instruments Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-md-02262. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Grant McCool)

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