This case could have worldwide repercussions.
(Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Bank AG, JPMorgan Chase & Co., UBS AG and Hypo Real Estate Holding AG’s Depfa Bank Plc unit were charged with fraud linked to the sale of derivatives to the City of Milan.
Judge Simone Luerti scheduled the trial of the four firms, 11 bankers and two former city officials for May 6, Prosecutor Alfredo Robledo said after a hearing in Milan today. The banks allegedly misled the city over swaps that adjusted interest payments on 1.7 billion euros ($2.3 billion) of bonds sold in 2005.
Prosecutors across Italy are investigating banks as local and national government agencies face potential losses of 2.5 billion euros on derivatives, lawyers say. The Milan probe may also affect cases as far away as the U.S., where securities firms have faced charges for price-fixing and bid-rigging in the sale of derivatives to municipalities, though not for fraud, according to former regulator Christopher “Kit” Taylor.
“This case could have repercussions over here if the trial showed deliberate intent,” said Taylor, a former executive director of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, the national regulator of the municipal-bond market. “What happened in Europe was the continuation of a pattern in the U.S.”
We all know that the banks misled people. The question is did they break the law?