Deutsche Bank AG has agreed to settle U.S. litigation over allegations it illegally conspired with Bank of Nova Scotia and HSBC Holdings Plc to fix silver prices at the expense of investors, a court filing on Wednesday showed.
Terms were not disclosed, but the accord will include a monetary payment by the German bank, a letter filed in Manhattan federal court by lawyers for the investors said.
Deutsche Bank has signed a binding settlement term sheet, and is negotiating a formal settlement agreement to be submitted for approval by U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni, who oversees the litigation.
A Deutsche Bank spokeswoman declined to comment. Lawyers for the investors did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Investors accused Deutsche Bank, HSBC and ScotiaBank of abusing their power as three of the world's largest silver bullion banks to dictate the price of silver through a secret, once-a-day meeting known as the Silver Fix.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants distorted prices on the roughly $30 billion of silver and silver financial instruments traded annually, violating U.S. antitrust law.
UBS AG was also named as a defendant. Investors accused the Swiss bank of conspiring to exploit the Silver Fix, though it did not help set the benchmark.
Spokesmen for HSBC and ScotiaBank declined to comment, saying they could not discuss pending litigation. A spokeswoman for UBS did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The lawsuit is among several in Manhattan federal court in which investors accused banks of conspiring to rig rates or prices in financial and commodities markets.
The case is In re: London Silver Fixing Ltd Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-md-02573.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Grant McCool and Diane Craft)