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Berger & Montague To Helm Gold Fix Case

Posted: July 23, 2014
Source: Law360, Reuters
Practice Areas: Antitrust, Commodities and Options

Berger & Montague has been appointed interim co-lead class counsel (along with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP) to represent a proposed class of traders of gold-based derivatives contracts, physical gold, and gold-based securities that were priced based on the London Gold Fix.

Twice daily in London, the members of the London Gold Market Fixing (The Bank of Nova Scotia, Barclays Bank plc, Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Bank plc and Société Générale, collectively, "the defendants") meet via conference call to set the benchmark rate for the price of gold (the "London Gold Fixing").  The outcome of the London Gold Fixing affects trillions of dollars worth of gold and gold-based derivatives and securities.

Since March of 2014, more than 25 class actions have been filed by dozens of law firms accusing the defendants of manipulating the London Gold Fixing in violation of the Sherman Act and the Commodity Exchange Act.  These class actions further alleged that traders of gold-based derivatives contracts, physical gold, and gold-based securities were injured because of defendants' manipulation of the London Gold Fixing.  Almost all of the class actions are pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York before the Honorable Valerie Caproni.

Various government financial authorities in the United States and abroad are also currently investigating the London Gold Fixing process.  On May 23, 2014, the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority fined Barclays Bank plc £26,033,500 for failings surrounding the London Gold Fixing and banned and fined a former Barclays trader for inappropriate conduct at the London Gold Fixing.

On May 6, 2014, recognizing the magnitude of this litigation, Judge Caproni invited applications for appointment as interim class counsel.  On July 22, 2014, following two rounds of briefing, Judge Caproni issued her decision appointing Berger & Montague and Quinn Emanuel interim co-lead class counsel.  In making her selection from many well qualified applicants, Judge Caproni noted that Berger & Montague and Quinn Emanuel are "best able to represent the putative class."

View the full articles here and here.