* Investors said silver prices driven down illegally
* HSBC had been previously dropped as a defendant
NEW YORK, March 27 Silver investors failed to
show that JPMorgan Chase & Co conspired to drive down
the metal's price, and an antitrust lawsuit accusing the largest
U.S. bank of price-fixing should be dismissed, a federal appeals
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the investors,
who traded COMEX silver futures and options contracts, failed to
show that JPMorgan violated federal antitrust and commodities
laws by having distorted silver prices at their expense between
2007 and 2010.
Among the allegations were that the bank would amass huge
short positions that market conditions did not justify, and make
"fake" late-day trades when market volume was thin.
Thursday's order upheld a March 2013 ruling by U.S. District
Judge Robert Patterson, who also sits in Manhattan.
Christopher Lovell, a partner at Lovell Stewart Halebian
Jacobson representing the investors, did not immediately respond
to requests for comment. JPMorgan spokesman Brian Marchiony
declined to comment.
Investors had filed at least 43 complaints in 2010 and 2011
that accused banks of amassing hundreds of millions of dollars
in illegal profit through silver price-fixing.
After the lawsuits were consolidated, HSBC Holdings Plc
was dropped from the case in September 2011, leaving
New York-based JPMorgan as the main defendant.
In Thursday's order, a three-judge 2nd Circuit panel said it
could not infer from allegations that JPMorgan took large and
"uneconomic" short positions in silver that the bank intended to
manipulate prices, or conspired with floor brokers to do so.
"An inference of intent cannot be drawn from the mere fact
that JPMorgan had a strong short position," the panel said.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission began probing
silver price-fixing in 2008, and two years later proposed
regulations to give it greater power to stop the practice.
The case is In re: Commodity Exchange Inc Silver Futures and
Options Trading Litigation, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals,
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Andrew