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FX comment: Interest rate swaps – Milan swaps in to court

If the banks are found guilty of misleading the Milanese regarding the true cost and risk-profile of the instruments, there could be more than 40 similar cases to follow.

Not strictly an FX story this but it is of precisely the same bent as the Korean Kiko saga (Court says so over Kiko).

Except that you might expect treasury officials of the city of Milan to be a little more financially savvy than a Korean ball-valve exporter. And that you might believe that, lacking optionality, interest rate swaps are of a lesser degree of complexity than knock-in knock-out options.

Nevertheless, officials from JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, UBS and Depfa Bank will be required to stand trial on May 6 for alleged fraud in the underwriting of a €1.7 billion 30-year bond issue and its swap into floating rate. The four banks deny any wrongdoing.

This is largely a test case: if the banks are found guilty of misleading the Milanese regarding the true cost and risk-profile of the instruments, there could more than 40 similar cases with Italian cities to follow.

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