UBS Sued by Fired Singapore Traders’ Former Manager

UBS AG, fighting lawsuits from two Singapore traders it fired for alleged serious misconduct, was sued by their former boss Balasubramanian Venkatesan.

The claims in Venkatesan’s lawsuit, filed earlier this month, couldn’t be determined as the papers were sealed by the Singapore High Court. Venkatesan, who had been the bank’s co-head of fixed income, currencies and commodities for emerging markets in Asia, declined to comment on the lawsuit when contacted today. Julie Yeo, a Singapore-based spokeswoman for UBS, also declined to comment.

UBS, fined about $1.5 billion in December by U.S., U.K. and Swiss regulators for trying to rig global interest rates, said last month that it’s continuing the probe that led to the firing of Mukesh Kumar Chhaganlal and Prashant Mirpuri. The two traders sued the bank, claiming it fired them to cover up its role in manipulating derivatives used to speculate on the movement of currencies.

Chhaganlal, the bank’s former co-head of macro-trading for emerging markets in Asia, said in his lawsuit he had raised concerns with Venkatesan, his supervisor, last year about unrealistic U.S. dollar-Indonesia rupiah rates being set in Singapore. Chhaganlal said he was told “there was no way to control the market or how people set the rates on the market.”

Venkatesan and Yeo declined to comment on when he had left the bank, and under what circumstances.

Both Chhaganlal’s and Mirpuri’s lawsuits have since been sealed. The Zurich-based bank has said it will defend itself against the lawsuits of the two traders and that it is cooperating fully with the authorities.

Regulators worldwide are probing banks over allegations traders colluded to manipulate benchmark rates so they could profit from bets on derivatives. The Singapore central bank in September asked banks to expand their review of benchmark interest rates to include non-deliverable forwards, which are used to speculate on the movement of currencies subject to foreign exchange restrictions.

The case is Balasubramanian Venkatesan v UBS AG. S260/2013. Singapore High Court.

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