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LME wants aluminum warehousing suits heard in New York

Friday, Dec 06, 2013

The London Metal Exchange asked a panel of U.S. judges on Thursday to assign a federal court in Manhattan to handle a series of antitrust lawsuits that allege the world's largest metal exchange, two of Wall Street's biggest banks and big commodity merchants conspired to raise the price of aluminum.

The venue of lawsuits is sometimes critically important because of the varying levels of experience among judges indifferent cities, as well as other factors such as convenience for lawyers and witnesses.

LME, which is owned by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd, and other defendants including Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JP Morgan Chase & Co and merchants Glencore Xstrata are fighting allegations in about 30 law suits that they manipulated the warehousing of aluminum in order to lift the price of the metal. The U.S. Justice Department is also investigating the matter.

Goldman, JPM organ and HKEx have rejected the claims and said they would contest them vigorously.

Many of the warehouses are in or near Detroit, Michigan, so some aluminum buyers want their cases to be heard there.

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