HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA.L) was on Monday ordered to face three U.S. lawsuits accusing it of breaching its duties as a trustee overseeing residential mortgage-backed securities that suffered more than $34 billion of losses in the global financial crisis.
U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan said the plaintiff investors, including funds from BlackRock Inc (BLK.N), Allianz SE’s (ALVG.DE) Pacific Investment Management Co and TIAA-CREF, could pursue claims accusing HSBC of breach of contract, and concealing known defects in mortgage loans backing 283 trusts.
“Based on plaintiffs’ detailed allegations, it is indeed plausible to infer that HSBC had actual knowledge of breaches in representations and warranties in the specific loans at issue,” Scheindlin wrote in a 53-page decision. “How HSBC gained this actual knowledge, or whether in fact it had actual knowledge, may be determined through discovery.”
The judge also said the plaintiffs could pursue a conflict of interest claim accusing HSBC of refusing to “rat out” misconduct by loan servicers, hoping that they would “return the favour when the roles were reversed.”
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