Banks win dismissal of U.S. lawsuit alleging rigged Mexico bond sales

(Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Monday dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit against several large banks for allegedly rigging the market for Mexican government bonds, according to a court filing.

JPMorgan Chase & Co, HSBC Holdings Plc, Citigroup Inc and Bank of America Corp are among 10 financial companies that had been accused in the lawsuit of benefiting from manipulating the market for Mexican government bonds.

U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken in Manhattan said in his opinion he was dismissing the lawsuit because the plaintiffs - eight pension funds - failed to allege a direct link between each defendant and a conspiracy.

Oetken said he never determined if there was a plausible existence of an antitrust conspiracy, but said the plaintiffs could try to amend their complaint.

Todd Seaver, a lawyer for the pension funds, said his team was evaluating the ruling and had no further comment.

The lawsuit followed an investigation announced by Mexico’s Federal Commission for Economic Competition, or Cofece, in April 2017, into possible breaches of competition laws in the public debt market.

Cofece described the probe as its largest investigation into public debt sales and reflected the Mexican government’s efforts to increase market oversight.

In November, Mexico’s securities regulator in a separate probe fined top banks, traders and brokers for simulating bond trades to pump up volumes, according to a government document and source.

Banks have in recent years faced a variety of lawsuits in Manhattan federal court by investors seeking billions of dollars over market-rigging allegations.

Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Bill Berkrot