Citi Wins Round Against Creditors Over $900 Million Error

Citigroup Inc. won a round in a legal battle over $900 million it accidentally sent to Revlon Inc. creditors, as a federal judge ruled the bank doesn’t have to produce records of communications with firms that returned the funds.

In August, Citigroup sued a dozen Revlon creditors it said hadn’t returned their share of the transferred funds. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman on Tuesday denied the creditors’ request to force the bank to hand over evidence of talks it had with lenders that returned the money, saying that what others knew about the transfers was irrelevant. A trial has been scheduled for Dec. 9.

Creditors including Brigade Capital Management, HPS Investment Partners and Symphony Asset Management had said they wanted to determine whether the lenders that returned the funds had alerted Citigroup first, or if the bank “used its position as a massive financial institution to strong arm lenders,” which would refute Citigroup’s claim that the firms gave the money back without complaint.

“Defendants have a strong basis to suspect that Citibank applied pressure on those lenders that returned funds, including by threatening to discontinue important financial services and/or relationships,” the Revlon creditors said in a court filing.

Citigroup asked the judge to deny the request, arguing that the firms knew the transfers were in error. Citigroup said the creditors’ employees knew it was a mistake, ridiculed the bank for making it and ordered trustees and custodians to ignore the repayment requests.

The creditors have argued that they should be able to keep the money as “discharge for value” under a 1991 New York court ruling that says a creditor can keep the money transferred in error if it didn’t realize the payment was sent by mistake and didn’t make any misrepresentations.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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