Thursday, October 19, 2017

Case of the Day: Frontpoint Asian Event Driven Fund, L.P. v. Citibank, N.A., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132759 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 18, 2017)

Summary:

The case involves a class action complaint alleging the defendant financial institutions (which included banks in the U.S., Europe and Asia) manipulated the Singapore Interbank Offered Rate (SIBOR) and Singapore Swap Offer Rate (SOR).

The non-U.S. banks moved to dismiss based on lack of personal jurisdiction. The court granted the motion, as the foreign banks were not subject to general jurisdiction. The court found that registration and the accompanying appointment of an in-state agent does not give rise to general jurisdiction. The court also found that the foreign banks' settlement with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission was not sufficient to give rise to specific jurisdiction, unless the plaintiffs can also identify the specific collusive trade that occurred in New York.

As to all defendants, the court dismissed most of the complaint except for the conspiracy to manipulate SIBOR and SOR in violation of the antitrust laws.

Takeaway:

Here is the Asian parallel to the LIBOR manipulation scandal that rocked the financial world a few years back--yet much of the case turned not on the laws about the financial institutions, but on the laws about personal jurisdiction. This is a constant theme when dealing with Asia-themed litigation in the United States, where personal jurisdiction is at least half of the game in all cases.

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