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Barclays wins dismissal of U.S. shareholder lawsuit over Libor

The logo of Barclays bank is seen at its office in the Canary Wharf business district of London April 1, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Helgren
The logo of Barclays bank is seen at its office in the Canary Wharf business district of London April 1, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - Barclays Plc , the first bank to settle with authorities over alleged manipulation of the Libor interest rate, on Monday won the dismissal of a U.S. lawsuit by shareholders who claimed they lost money because of the British bank's activity.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan said investors who owned Barclays' American depositary shares did not show that Barclays and other defendants, including former Chief Executives John Varley and Bob Diamond, misled them about Libor or took too long to reveal potential liabilities.

She also said the investors failed to show that alleged Libor manipulation between August 2007 and January 2009 caused them to lose money through June 2012, when Barclays reached a $453 million settlement with U.S. and European regulators.

"The notion that the market would fail to digest three years of non-fraudulent submission rates and other more detailed financial information, and would instead leave intact artificial inflation as a result of fraudulent submission rates during the financial crisis is implausible," Scheindlin wrote.

The lawsuit had sought class-action status, and been brought on behalf of ADS purchasers between July 2007 and June 2012.

It was led by the Carpenters Pension Trust Fund of St. Louis in Missouri, and the St. Clair Shores Police & Fire Retirement System in Michigan.

Scheindlin said the plaintiffs will not get a chance to amend their lawsuit, having failed to address previously identified deficiencies in their second amended complaint.

David Rosenfeld, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Barclays spokesman Brandon Ashcraft declined to comment.

Libor, or the London interbank offered rate, underpins hundreds of trillions of dollars of transactions, and is used to set interest rates on credit cards, student loans and mortgages.

U.S. and European regulators are still probing whether banks artificially depressed Libor during the financial crisis to appear healthier.

UBS AG agreed in December to pay $1.5 billion and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc agreed in February to pay $612 million to settle with authorities over Libor.

The Barclays lawsuit is separate from U.S. litigation by bondholders and others over Libor manipulation against 16 banks, including Bank of America Corp , Citigroup Inc , Credit Suisse Group AG , Deutsche Bank AG , HSBC Holdings Plc and JPMorgan Chase & Co .

Scheindlin's colleague Naomi Reice Buchwald in March dismissed what she called a "substantial portion" of that case, including federal antitrust claims.

The case is Gusinsky et al v. Barclays Plc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-05329.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Richard Chang)

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