June 18, 2019 / 4:43 PM / a month ago

Wells Fargo is dismissed from municipal bond lawsuit by Philadelphia, Baltimore

NEW YORK, June 18 (Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co was dismissed as a defendant in a lawsuit by the cities of Philadelphia and Baltimore, which accused large banks of conspiring to inflate interest rates for variable-rate demand obligations, a type of tax-exempt bond.

The dismissal came after Wells Fargo represented that it did not remarket, provide letters of credit for, or manage money market funds that invested in the bonds, according to a Tuesday filing in Manhattan federal court.

JPMorgan Chase & Co and Fifth Third Bancorp were previously dismissed as defendants.

The remaining defendants are Bank of America Corp, Barclays Plc, Citigroup Inc, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Royal Bank of Canada, court records show.

Philadelphia, which said it issued more than $1.6 billion of VRDOs, and Baltimore, which said it issued $261 million, said the collusion enabled banks to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in fees they did not earn.

The cities said this reduced critical funding for hospitals, power and water supplies, schools, transportation and other municipal services. Their proposed class action covers the period from Feb. 2008 to June 2016.

The case is Philadelphia et al v Bank of America Corp et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 19-01608. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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