District Court Dismisses Antitrust Claim Because Plaintiffs Resided, and Relevant Transactions Occurred, in Asia

The World in U.S. Courts: Summer and Fall 2016 - Antitrust/Competition/Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (FTAIA) | June.29.2016

Chan Ah Wah v HSBC North America Holdings Inc., U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, August 11, 2016

The plaintiffs are individuals who claim to have been overcharged as a result of a conspiracy among the 17 global-bank defendants to manipulate foreign exchange rates.

Other than import trade, which is outside the scope of the statute, the District Court in New York observed that the FTAIA generally prohibits antitrust actions that do not have a “direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect” on U.S. commerce.  In the case at bar, the District Court read the complaint as alleging that the relevant transactions took place in Malaysia and Singapore while the plaintiffs resided in Malaysia.  Finding no effect on U.S. commerce, the Court found the plaintiffs’ antitrust claim to be barred by the FTAIA.

[Editor’s note:  the Chan Ah Wah case is also addressed in the Securities Law/Commodities Exchange Act (CEA) section of this report.]

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