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9 big banks accused of rigging Mexican government bonds

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9 big banks accused of rigging Mexican government bonds

The Boston Retirement System is suing nine global banks and their subsidiaries for allegedly conspiring to fix Mexican government bond prices between Jan. 1, 2006, and April 18, 2017.

The class-action complaint was filed May 14 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. A total of 50 financial institutions were named as defendants, including Spain-based banks Banco Santander SA and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA; U.K.-based banks HSBC Holdings PLC and Barclays PLC; Germany-based Deutsche Bank AG; Switzerland-based Credit Suisse Group AG; and U.S. banks JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc..

According to the lawsuit, the defendants conspired to fix Mexican government bond prices by rigging auctions, selling the bonds at artificially higher prices, and agreeing to fix the "bid-ask spread" artificially wider. The Boston Retirement System claims that it was overcharged and underpaid for the government bonds as a direct result of the scheme.

Earlier in March, U.S. pension funds Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System and Electrical Workers Pension Fund Local filed a proposed class action in New York against eight banks over allegations of bond market collusion.

In April 2017, Mexico's antitrust regulator, Cofece, announced that it had uncovered evidence of anticompetitive conduct in the Mexican government bond market.