OppenheimerFunds Wins Dismissal of Suit Over AAArdvark

OppenheimerFunds Inc. doesn’t have to face a $700 million lawsuit related to its use of the so-called AAArdvark arbitrage system, a New York state court judge ruled.

New York Supreme Court Judge Charles E. Ramos dismissed fraud claims by TSL USA Inc., Bryant Park Funding LLC and Liberty Street Funding LLC. The banks, seeking more than $700 million, claimed OppenheimerFunds breached contract agreements to induce them to continue funding AAArdvark Funding Limited IV, a special-purpose vehicle, according to an e-mailed statement from OppenheimerFunds yesterday.

OppenheimerFunds, a New York-based unit of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., argued that any alleged problems with the management of the AAArdvark vehicles didn’t result in any losses, according to the statement.

The AAArdvark vehicles were designed to allow large commercial banks to arbitrage the difference between commercial paper interest rates, and the interest rates paid on longer-term AAA-rated bonds, according to the statement.

In his order dated April 9 and posted yesterday on the court docket, Ramos permitted the banks to refile breach-of-contract claims.

Aaron Marks, a lawyer for the banks, didn’t immediately return a call yesterday after regular business hours seeking comment on the decision.

The case is TSL (USA) Inc. v. OppenheimerFunds Inc., 600976/2010, New York Supreme Court (Manhattan).

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