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CITIGROUP (C)
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Merrill wins dismissal of CDO lawsuit by South Korea's Woori

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02/07/2013 | 02:48am CET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge threw out a lawsuit from South Korea's Woori Bank accusing Bank of America Corp's Merrill Lynch unit of misleading investors about the riskiness of collateralized debt obligations, saying the suit had missed a deadline under South Korean law.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero said the 2012 lawsuit had been filed after a three-year deadline under South Korean law had expired. Woori Bank, which is owned by Woori Finance Holdings Co Ltd, argued that it had three years from when the U.S. Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission published a January 27, 2011 report on the economic crisis to bring its claims.

But the judge disagreed in a ruling dated February 5 that was released Wednesday. Marrero said Woori should have been aware of the "overall controversy surrounding Merrill Lynch's CDO investments" several years earlier, as lawyers for Merrill Lynch had argued.

U.S. lawyers for Woori did not immediately return requests for comment Wednesday evening. A spokesman for Bank of America, Bill Halldin, said the company was pleased with the court's decision. Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch in 2008.

Woori had accused Merrill Lynch of misrepresenting the riskiness of seven CDOs in which Woori had invested in 2005 and 2006. In all, Woori invested $143 million in those CDOs, according to the ruling.

Woori accused Merrill of inducing it to invest by concealing information about the riskiness of the underlying mortgages and the credit ratings assigned to those CDOs. The lawsuit sought at least $143 million and other damages for claims including fraud, negligent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment.

Created in the aftermath of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Woori became the South Korean financial sector's biggest victim of the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis, writing off much of a roughly $1.5 billion stake in credit default swaps and CDOs.

It sued several U.S. banks in connection with those losses, including Citigroup Inc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. A federal judge dismissed the case against RBS in December. Citigroup's motion to dismiss the lawsuit against it is still pending. The case is Woori Bank v. Merrill Lynch et al., in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, no. 12-3993.

(Reporting by Jessica Dye; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

By Jessica Dye

Valeurs citées dans l'article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BANK OF AMERICA -0.19% 31.87 Delayed Quote.8.40%
CITIGROUP 0.71% 77 Delayed Quote.3.09%
ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND GROUP 0.91% 277.4 Delayed Quote.-1.04%
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Financials ($)
Sales 2018 74 023 M
EBIT 2018 32 198 M
Net income 2018 16 184 M
Debt 2018 -
Yield 2018 1,92%
P/E ratio 2018 12,02
P/E ratio 2019 10,39
Capi. / Sales 2018 2,74x
Capi. / Sales 2019 2,64x
Capitalization 203 B
Chart CITIGROUP
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Citigroup Technical Analysis Chart | C | US1729674242 | 4-Traders
Technical analysis trends CITIGROUP
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
TrendsNeutralNeutralBullish
Income Statement Evolution
Consensus
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Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 31
Average target price 83,3 $
Spread / Average Target 8,5%
EPS Revisions
Managers
NameTitle
Michael Louis Corbat Chief Executive Officer & Director
James Anthony Forese President & CEO-Institutional Clients Group
Michael E. O'Neill Chairman
Don Callahan Head-Operations & Technology
John C. Gerspach Chief Financial Officer
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