Four Deutsche Bank AG traders who were fired in February as part of the lender’s probe into manipulation of benchmark interest rates returned to work, two people familiar with the matter said.
The men won reinstatement from a Frankfurt Labor Court in September after they sued Deutsche Bank. A spokesman for the lender confirmed that the traders returned to work yesterday and declined to comment further.
Regulators around the world are investigating whether more than a dozen firms, including Deutsche Bank, colluded to rig benchmark interest rates. Barclays Plc, UBS AG and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc are among companies that have been fined about $3.7 billion for rigging the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, the benchmark for more than $300 trillion of securities worldwide.
Norbert Pflueger, a Frankfurt-based employment lawyer, said sending staff back to work was a standard tactic to force the company to settle the case while an appeal is still possible. While Deutsche Bank hasn’t yet lodged an appeal, the deadline to file hasn’t passed.
“You send the employee back to the bank while the case is pending,” Pflueger said. “He shows up, which practically means to say: ’Hello, I’m back, but I am no longer employee XY - from now on I’m your problem.’”
The pressure created by having the employees back in the office helps when negotiating a settlement, he said.
“About 95 percent of these cases aren’t about actually getting back your old job,” Pflueger said. “They are about money. And the more trouble you can cause, the better deal you may make.”
The bank argued at the Frankfurt court that the four men, who made submissions for Euribor and Swiss franc Libor, exchanged improper instant messages with derivatives traders about what data to submit to help increase their profits.
The court said the dismissals were improper because bank didn’t have processes in place to prevent conflicts of interest when submitting data to calculate interest-rate benchmarks.
Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest lender, has said that an internal probe found no wrongdoing by current or former management board members and that it would fire or suspend employees who acted inappropriately.