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Goldman, Natixis to clash in court over credit deal

LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) - French investment bank Natixis <CNAT.PA>is due to clash with Wall Street heavyweight Goldman Sachs <GS.N> in a British court on Tuesday over a credit derivatives deal which Natixis wants scrapped.

The dispute centers around whether or not Natixis, which is majority owned by French retail bank BPCE, can cancel a transaction on three credit default swaps with Goldman, which is claiming damages for breach of contract.

The hearing is due to start on November 9 in London's High Court, coinciding with the publication of Natixis' third quarter results. The size of the claim has not been revealed.

Goldman has declined to comment on the row, while Natixis, through its law firm Stephenson Harwood, has said it will defend itself vigorously.

The battle comes as several banks find themselves embroiled in lawsuits over who should bear the blame for risky debt instruments that left banks and investors nursing huge losses when the credit crisis broke in 2007.

Rival French bank Credit Agricole <CAGR.PA> sued Germany's IKB for more than $1.68 billion in damages in late 2009.

That dispute has since led to an indirect countersuit from IKB clients based in Jersey, which was filed last month. Agricole has said it is confident that IKB's counter-action is without merit.

Citigroup <C.N> is also facing legal action from several mortgage bond investors, while earlier this month Bank of America <BAC.N> won the dismissal of a lawsuit from investors who claimed its Countrywide unit had misled them in a mortgage securities deal.

Goldman's dealings in the subprime mortgage sector came under fierce scrutiny from regulators earlier this year, and in July the American bank agreed to pay $550 million to settle civil fraud charges over how it marketed a subprime mortgage product handled by French banker Fabrice Tourre.

Last month a fund manager who invested in a Goldman subprime mortgage-linked security sued the company for fraud, in another case Goldman is contesting.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Lionel Laurent; editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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