Fired banker loses €40m payoff over Libor fixing


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The Independent Online

At last, it seems, a banker may be paying a penalty for getting caught up in one of the City’s biggest scandals.

According to three people with knowledge of the move, Christian Bittar, who formerly worked as head of the money markets derivatives group at Deutsche Bank, has been forced to give up €40m (£34m) in deferred pay after being fired by the company.

He was let go after it was claimed that he colluded with a Barclays trader involved in attempts to rig Libor or other similar interest rates, and was said to have held “inappropriate conversations”.

It is understood that the bank first discovered his involvement in the affair in the autumn of 2011 after which he was suspended and later fired.

Mr Bittar made his name, and most of his money, during the height of the financial crisis in 2008. A proprietary trader – one who made bets with the bank’s own money – he was paid a percentage of his trading profits which vested over three years.

That implies that he may have been paid up to €80m (£50m) for that year’s work based on contracts common at the time, with the final third of the bonus, or profit share, paid in the third year. In Mr Bittar’s case that would have been 2011, when he was fired. However, banking sources cautioned that payout schedules for such star traders weren’t always based on a three-year deal.

The conversations said to have been uncovered by the bank’s internal probe took place when he was based in London in 2006 and 2007 and are not thought to have yielded any profits.

Deutsche is one of the banks which could face a penalty as a result of the Libor fixing scandal. However, The Independent has learnt that a settlement is unlikely to occur much before the end of the year.

The bank said yesterday: “Upon discovering that a limited number of employees acted inappropriately, we have sanctioned or dismissed employees, clawed back unvested compensation and will continue to do so as we complete our investigation.”

It maintained that Mr Bittar’s trading strategy was “subject to the bank’s risk limits”.