In In re Treasury Securities Auction Antitrust Litigation, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed allegations that ten of the world's largest banks engaged in two interrelated antitrust conspiracies in the U.S. Treasury securities market. The Court concluded that the Plaintiffs' allegations were not pled (i) with the requisite specificity required for the contention that their arguments be read "as a whole" and (ii) with sufficient substantive actions tied to specific Defendants to "plausibly allege parallel conduct."
According to the Plaintiffs, including 21 entities who traded in the U.S. Treasury securities market, the banks - in their capacity as primary dealers - would receive private and confidential order information from indirect bidders that could be accessed internally by "those responsible . . . for [each] dealer's own competitive bids. . . ." The Plaintiffs alleged that the banks would "routinely" share this information within and between each other, which would be in violation of the best practices and guidelines of the Treasury Market Practices Group ("TMPG"), the banks being participants of TMPG.
The Plaintiffs also alleged a second conspiracy, claiming the Defendants formed a group boycott to prevent any dealer-to-dealer electronic trading platform on which buy-side investors could trade directly. The Plaintiffs alleged that the Defendants effectuated the boycott by (i) depriving a platform of liquidity and fees and (ii) coordinating through boards and committees and sharing information about plans and intentions between and among the strategic investment groups.
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