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Credit Suisse faces lawsuit over investor currency rigging in New York

NEW YORK, Feb 2 (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Tuesday refused to dismiss a class action lawsuit brought by investors accusing Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.S) of conspiring to rig prices in the foreign exchange markets of around $6.6 trillion a day market.

Credit Suisse is the last remaining defendant bank in the antitrust litigation that began in 2013, after 15 others reached $2.31 billion in settlements.

US District Judge Lorna Schofield in Manhattan said it was premature to accept Credit Suisse’s assertion that it was not part of a unique global conspiracy to widen currency spreads.

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But she also rejected investors’ bid to hold Credit Suisse accountable, saying the question of whether there was a single conspiracy or multiple smaller conspiracies must be answered before determining if and how Credit Suisse would have could be involved.

“Questions remain as to the scope of the shared unlawful purpose and the extent of the conspirators’ mutual dependence and assistance,” Schofield wrote.

Credit Suisse said it believes it has strong defenses against the claims.

“We continue to believe that Credit Suisse has strong legal and factual defenses, and we look forward to establishing them at trial,” the bank said in a statement.

Attorneys for the investors did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The course period extends from December 2007 to December 2013.

Investors have accused Credit Suisse traders of sharing non-public pricing information with traders from other banks, including in chat rooms with names such as “Yen Cartel”.

The earlier settlements followed regulatory investigations that resulted in more than $10 billion in fines for several banks and the conviction or indictment of some merchants.

Some investors, including BlackRock Inc (BLK.N) and Allianz SE’s Pimco (ALVG.DE), have opted to “opt out” of the investor dispute. Investors usually do this when they hope to recover more by suing themselves.

The case is In Re Foreign Exchange Benchmark Rates Antitrust Litigation, US District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-07789.

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Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; additional reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi in Zurich

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