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Principal Financial targets big banks in Libor lawsuit

(Reuters) - Principal Financial Group Inc , a large asset management and insurance company, on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit accusing nearly 30 defendants, more than half of which are banks, of rigging global benchmark interest rates.

The lawsuit claims that the defendants conspired to depress the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), a rate at the heart of hundreds of trillions of dollars of financial products, from August 2007 to May 2010.

Principal said this caused it to earn less money from Libor-linked investments than if the price-fixing did not occur. The company sued in its hometown of Des Moines, Iowa.

The defendants include such lenders as Bank of America Corp , Barclays Plc , Citigroup Inc , Deutsche Bank AG , HSBC Holdings Plc , JPMorgan Chase & Co , Royal Bank of Canada , Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and UBS AG .

They have long sought to dismiss private U.S. lawsuits over Libor, amid a sprawl of regulatory probes in the United States and Europe that has so far led Barclays, RBS and UBS to agree to more than $2.6 billion of settlements.

Such accords do not resolve private lawsuits such as Principal's or others that are pending or yet to be filed.

In March, a New York federal judge dismissed a substantial part of the claims against in a group of consolidated private lawsuits over alleged Libor manipulation.

Principal is among the larger individual plaintiffs to sue banks in the United States over Libor. Its market value tops $13 billion, and the company last week said it has more than $450 billion of assets under management.

The case is Principal Financial Group Inc et al v. Bank of America Corp et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa, No. 13-00335.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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