Milan Swaps Appeal Starts as Banks Seek to Overturn Convictions

An appeals trial began in Milan today as four securities firms including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and UBS AG seek to overturn convictions for fraud relating to their sale of swaps contracts to the city in 2005.

The trial, which will run through the month of February, will focus on allegations that are common among the four companies, the presiding judge said today.

In December 2012 a judge convicted nine bankers working for Deutsche Bank AG, Depfa Bank Plc, UBS and JPMorgan, and the banks for their role in overseeing fraud by their employees. The bankers received suspended jail sentences of as long as eight months and 15 days.

The banks were accused of defrauding Milan by hiding how much they earned on the derivatives, which adjusted payments on about 1.7 billion euros ($2.3 billion) of bonds, and tricking the municipality by telling the city it would save on its borrowings with the bonds and swaps.

The municipality and the banks in March 2012 agreed to unwind the interest-rate swaps and settled their claims in a civil suit brought by the city.

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