Citigroup Currency Trader Settles Tokyo Wrongful-Dismissal Case

  • Bank said to rescind punitive dismissal as part of settlement
  • Trader was fired for allegedly attempting to rig FX market

A Citigroup Inc. currency trader in Tokyo who sued the U.S. bank after it fired him for allegedly trying to manipulate foreign-exchange rates has settled the case.

The wrongful-dismissal lawsuit was withdrawn on Nov. 2 after the court-mediated settlement, according to Tokyo District Court records viewed by Bloomberg News, the details of which were sealed. As part of the settlement, Citigroup was said to have agreed to rescind its punitive dismissal of the trader, but he will no longer be an employee.

A spokeswoman for Citigroup in Tokyo declined to comment. The plaintiff’s lawyer, who asked that his client’s name not be published, also declined to comment.

Citigroup fired the trader in January 2015 after uncovering electronic chats from 2011 and 2013 between him and a Singapore-based colleague that violated its code of conduct, the bank had said in its defense to the lawsuit. The communications showed “improper” intent to affect the spot foreign-exchange market by making trades before the setting of currency benchmarks that were used for options contracts, Citigroup’s Japan unit had said in a letter notifying the trader of his dismissal, which was filed to the court.

The trader, who filed the case in February 2015, had argued that he never received warnings from Citigroup when he carried out transactions to defend its positions in options contracts. He had said he was made a scapegoat and his actions were condoned by his employer.

Other traders who worked at firms including Citigroup have sued their former employers after being dismissed following a global probe into foreign-exchange market manipulation that has cost banks about $10 billion in fines.

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