Spotlight: Annie Bell Adams, American pensioner whose home has been repossessed

So – who is she?

Ms Adams, aged 65, was among the millions of Americans who had their homes repossessed as the US housing market hit a brick wall. And like so many others, her mortgage was reportedly bundled up – or securitised – into debt instruments that were sold on to investors by the big international banks.

Ok. But why is she different?

Because now she is taking on the giants of Wall Steet and the City. Ms Adams is one of the lead plaintiffs in a first of its kind case that seeks to pin the blame for higher mortgage payments on the alleged fiddling of the Libor rates by traders at banks in Europe and North America. Her case is reported to be the first that involves ordinary homeowners, as opposed to professional investors.

Libor?

Yes. The London interbank offered rate. Set by the banks, it forms the basis for trillions of dollars of financial contracts around the world. But it was thrust into the public spotlight earlier this year after Barclays paid hundreds of millions in penalties to settle claims that it tried to manipulate the rate.

Sorry – and the connection with Ms Adams is?

Ms Adams and her fellow plaintiffs had taken out what were known as Libor Plus adjustable rates mortgages that tracked the benchmark interest rate. By fiddling with Libor the traders were able to raise the payments made by ordinary mortgage holders like Ms Adams. Or so the suit alleges. The lawyer representing Ms Adams and the others leading the case was reported to have said that the potential group of plaintiffs could number in the tens of thousands.

Will she succeed?

Impossible to tell. But the fact that the plaintiffs are ordinary Americans – including a pensioner who lost her home – is likely to fan interest as it works its way through the legal system.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'