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Australian court upholds landmark Standard & Poor's derivatives case

SYDNEY--Standard & Poor's was found liable Friday for investment losses incurred by Australian councils in the lead-up to the global financial crisis, after a court dismissed its appeal against a landmark 2012 ruling.

The full bench of the Federal Court of Australia threw out the appeal by the ratings agency, ABN AMRO Bank and Australian firm Local Government Financial Services (LGFS) and upheld the original judgment.

The Sydney court ruled that S&P, ABN AMRO — now a division of Royal Bank of Scotland — and LGFS were 100 percent liable for losses sustained by the councils of 13 towns rather than 33 percent in the earlier judgment.

The 474-page decision said “S&P's rating of the Rembrandt notes was unreasonable, unjustified and misleading (and ABN AMRO knew that to be so).”

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