British bank Barclays will stand trial over its manipulation of a key lending rate after a High Court judge ruled Monday that a care-home company could sue for the alleged mis-selling of financial products.
Guardian Care Homes (GCH) claims it was sold two interest-rate swaps -- hedges against sudden movements in the cost of loans worth £70 million ($112.2 million, 86.9 million euros) -- without knowing the underlying rate could be "undermined" by manipulation.
Barclays disputes the company's claims and tried to block damages claims at a High Court hearing in London.
But judge Julian Flaux ruled on Monday that the grievances could be aired at a civil trial -- expected to take place in late 2013 -- that will be seen as a test case for future possible action.
Flaux said there was "no doubt whatsoever" that the claims passed the "sufficient argument" threshold.
The affair erupted in June when Barclays was fined £290 million by British and US regulators for attempted manipulation of Libor and Euribor interbank rates between 2005 and 2009.
"Today is a huge milestone with a trial now going forward to determine whether these financial products should be declared void," Guardian Care Homes' chief executive Gary Hartland said after the ruling.
GCH operates 27 homes providing care for 1,000 elderly or vulnerable patients in Britain.
It claims that it lost £12 million after being sold swaps against £70 million worth of loans it held with the bank.