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Massachusetts Probes Banks Over Municipal Swaps

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvins sent a letter to 10 major banks on Friday concerning their exposure to municipal credit default swaps linked to bonds issued by the state's cities and towns.

The regulators are looking to determine if the banks gave proper disclosure regarding the swaps, and if there is any conflict of interest in them being underwriters of the bonds.

The letter specifically asks for information about the banks' underwriting activities in the state, their exposure to municipal credit default swaps, whether they bought credit default swaps for the banks' own inventory and what the municipal issuers and investors were told about the banks' CDS investments.

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The probed banks are Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Wells Fargo, UBS, JPMorgan and Barclays.

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