Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sacramento Utility Accuses Banks of Rigging Sales of Municipal Derivatives

It was ever thus.
Bloomberg via the NYT:
A California utility, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, has accused more than a dozen banks of rigging the sales of municipal derivatives and sharing illegal profits.

In a lawsuit based on federal and state antitrust claims, the utility claims that the financial firms, including Bank of America, UBS and JPMorgan Chase & Company, conspired to pre-select winners of municipal derivative auctions, coordinated their pricing and accepted kickbacks disguised as fees from co-conspirators.

The accusations are similar to those made by a federal grand jury last month in New York, according to the lawsuit, which was filed on Nov. 12 in federal court in Sacramento. In that case, the founder of CDR Financial Products, David R. Rubin, and two employees were indicted and charged with accepting kickbacks on investments sold to local governments. CDR, which is based in Beverly Hills, Calif., is also named as a defendant in the Sacramento case....MORE