The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., in concert with hedge funds, commodities traders and others, manipulated commodities markets, breaching antitrust laws and costing Eastman Kodak Co. dearly, Kodak claims in a lawsuit.
Filed July 28 in U.S. District Court in Rochester, the action maintains Goldman Sachs and nine alleged U.S. and foreign co-conspirators deliberately caused spikes in aluminum prices by hoarding stores of the metal in warehouses and shuffling ingots among them to create artificial shortages and hide their scheme.
In addition to Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, Kodak’s suit names Metro International Trade Services LLC, Henry Bath LLC, Glencore Xstrata PLC, Glencore LTD., Pacorini Metals USA LLC, Pacorini Metals AG and London Metal Exchange LTD.
The alleged conspirators hoarded aluminum, a metal widely used in Kodak’s core commercial printing business, in strategically located warehouses while at the same time agreeing to artificially limit the supply of aluminum leaving warehouses they controlled, Kodak claims. They also swapped the metal among themselves to make it appear that orders were being shipped, the suit alleges.
Transactions among warehouses, banks, hedge funds and traders colluding in the alleged scheme had “no legitimate economic rationale” other than creating an “artificial scarcity” and hiding the alleged conspiracy, Kodak maintains in court papers.
Those charges—laid out in a 2013 New York Times article that is cited 15 times in the 52-page Kodak complaint—are not new.
Its claims are inferences based on sources such as the New York Times article, press releases and public statements made by the alleged conspirators, Kodak states in the court filing.
Proof positive “lies exclusively within the possession, custody, or control of defendants and other insiders, which prevents plaintiff from further detailing defendants’ misconduct,” the complaint states.
But further proof could arise from ongoing probes being conducted by U.S. and British government agencies, it adds.
Kodak asks for triple compensation for whatever damages it is able to prove it suffered.
The London Metal Exchange’s trading volume typically totals some $61 billion daily with more trades taking place among banks, hedge funds and commodities speculators, the complaint states.
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