Braintree Appeals to Keep Auction-Rate Securities Lawsuit Against Citigroup in Court

Braintree Laboratories Inc. is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit to keep its auction-rate securities lawsuit against the brokerage division of Citigroup Inc. in court. A federal court had ordered the proceedings into arbitration.

Last April, the pharmaceutical company sued Citigroup for securities fraud, accusing the investment bank of misrepresenting $33.2 million in ARS as “liquid,” government-supported “money market” investments that could be sold following seven days notice when Citigroup allegedly knew that the investments were auction-rate securities that were illiquid, subject to failed auctions, and not redeemable until 2030.

Braintree also contends that Citigroup used misleading and false descriptions to prevent clients and regulators from finding out that it was still selling these “toxic instruments.” The pharmaceutical company is accusing Citigroup of destroying key evidence related to the alleged fraud.

Braintree purchased the ARS from Citigroup between June and August ’08. The ARS market froze in early 2008.

Citigroup has agreed to give back $7.5 billion to individual clients, charities, and small businesses that suffered ARS losses when the market collapsed. The broker-dealer is also promising to put its best efforts toward liquidating some $12 million in ARS that were purchased by institutional investors, including retirement plans, by the end of 2009.

As Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas Founder and Stockbroker Fraud Lawyer William Shepherd points out, “Most securities firms have agreed to repurchase Auction Rate Securities from smaller investors, but our firm is representing many large investors who remain in ‘ARS limbo.’ It is very important for these investors to hire skilled attorneys to protect their rights before time limits expire to take action! We have found many firms are dragging out discussions with investors but only paying those who take legal action.”

Related Web Resources:
ARS Investor Fights To Keep Citigroup In Court, Law 360, November 11, 2009
Citi sued over auction-rate securities, Reuters, April 17, 2009
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