Deutsche Bank Says Ex-Trader's $7.6 Million Bonus Suit Hopeless

  • Paturel, fired amid Libor probes, suing bank for unpaid bonus
  • Paturel received $6.3 million in bonuses in 2008 and 2009

An ex-Deutsche Bank AG trader seeking a 5 million-pound ($7.6 million) bonus should have his “hopeless” case thrown out before it gets to trial, lawyers for the bank said.

The claim filed by Yves Paturel, who was fired during the Libor probes, is “extraordinary” because he suggests the bank should’ve "mirrored" bonus payments given to more senior or successful colleagues, Christopher Jeans, the bank’s lawyer said Wednesday in court documents prepared for a London hearing, where it asked for the case to be dismissed.

Paturel received bonuses of 1.2 million pounds in 2008 and 2.96 million pounds the following year "at the height of the financial crisis," Jeans said. "These were the highest discretionary awards given to any trader at the claimant’s level on the London money market derivatives desk in each of the years."

Lawmakers and regulators cracked down on banker pay in the wake of the financial crisis, putting an end to many of the awards highlighted in the lawsuit. Still, the claim captures a snapshot of compensation in the industry before a series of scandals.

Libor Fine

Paturel was fired in April when Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank paid a record $2.5 billion in fines to settle U.S. and U.K. investigations into its role in rigging the London interbank offered rate.

“We were ordered to terminate Mr Paturel’s employment in connection with a
regulatory settlement," the Frankfurt-based bank said in a statement. "His breach of contract claim is without merit.”

Paturel’s lawyer, Andrew Hochhauser, said the case should be decided following a full trial, by a judge who has heard all of the evidence.

“Far from being hopeless," the claim is "eminently arguable. It should not be stopped in its tracks now," Hochhauser said.

Paturel claims former Deutsche Bank trader Christian Bittar, who is also caught-up in the Libor probe, and a colleague, Carl Maine, received bonuses far in excess of his payout. In 2008, Bittar made 500 million euros ($536 million) for the bank and was due a bonus of more than 50 million euros under his contract, according to people with knowledge of the situation. He lost about 40 million euros in bonuses after he was fired in 2011.

Bittar, who was senior to Paturel, and Maine were seen as integral to the bank’s success and paid on different metrics in a bid to retain them, Jeans said. Deutsche Bank would have missed out on millions in revenue should Bittar have left, Jeans said.

Capitalist Institution

"The bank is a capitalist institution," Jeans said in court. "It does not pay out for bonuses unless it thinks its profits are increased by so doing."

Bittar on Tuesday won a lawsuit against the Financial Conduct Authority because he was improperly identified in a report about Libor. Bittar, who still faces a 10-million pound ($15 million) fine, had the right to review the FCA’s settlement with Deutsche Bank before it was published, Judge Timothy Herrington said in a judgment published on the court website.

The case is Paturel v. DB Group Services (UK) Limited. High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division, HQ15X00205.

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