Barclays Sued by Fired Banker Over Latin America Pullback

A former Barclays Plc unit managing director in Latin America sued the company over its pullback from the region, claiming the bank broke a contract with him and violated New York human rights laws for allegedly discriminating against employees of Latin American descent.

Barclays Capital Inc. lured former wealth-management employee Ramon Manuel Hache with promises of expansion in Latin America in 2012 only to end much of its business there about two years later, according to Hache’s complaint filed today in federal court in Brooklyn, New York.

Hache said Barclays, the U.K.’s second-biggest lender by assets, effectively terminated him when it eliminated his business and ousted more than 30 other employees who worked with clients investing with the Latin American desk. The terminated workers were generally of Latin American or Spanish ancestry, he said.

As a result of the retreat from the area, Hache’s 10-plus years of “establishing a reputation in the Latin American region was effectively ruined,” he said. The firm in effect prohibited him from prospecting for business in “all Spanish speaking countries in the Americas” including “economic powerhouses such as Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.”

Hache is seeking damages for breach of contract and other claims including terminating employees allegedly based on racial or national origin. He is also disputing a demand for repayment of a $1.2 million advance offered as an incentive for joining the firm, according to the suit.

Barclays announced plans to cut costs in its wealth-management business in late 2013, firing almost 100 U.K. private bankers and reducing the number of countries in which clients received services.

Mark Lane, a spokesman for London-based Barclays, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Ramon Manuel Hache v. Barclays Bank Plc, 1:14-cv-06115, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

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