Fourth Citigroup Currency Trader Wins Unfair Dismissal Lawsuit

  • Baris Ozkaptan said bank turned ‘blind eye’ to misconduct
  • Ozkaptan was the fifth ex-Citigroup trader to sue over firing

A Citigroup Inc. foreign exchange trader who claimed the bank turned a “blind eye” to sharing confidential client information before the 2013 currency market manipulation scandal won his employment lawsuit.

Employment Judge Alison Russell ruled that Baris Ozkaptan was dismissed unfairly, Ozkaptan and a Citigroup spokeswoman said Friday. Ozkaptan, who was fired for telling rivals the identities of clients in electronic chats, said during his November testimony that traders would routinely disclose client orders to rivals and salespeople would warn preferred customers about trades before they moved markets if it benefited Citigroup.

"Citi stands by its decision to dismiss Mr. Ozkaptan," the bank said in a statement. "While we are disappointed by the Employment Tribunal’s decision, individual accountability is important to us and for that reason we defended the case in the Tribunal."

He is the fourth Citigroup trader fired amid global probes into foreign exchange manipulation to win an employment lawsuit, after Perry Stimpson, Carly McWilliams and Robert Hoodless also received favorable rulings on at least part of their claims. But like Stimpson and McWilliams, Ozkaptan was criticized by the judge.

The ruling said Ozkaptan contributed to his own demise and will have his final award reduced, according to a person familiar with the judgment who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to discuss it publicly.

Ozkaptan, who declined to give any details on the judgment, is one of close to a dozen FX traders and sales people who sued their former employers in the past two years, claiming they were made scapegoats by banks rushing to appease regulators amid a currency rigging scandal. Global banks have paid about $10 billion to resolve regulatory probes related to the issue.

Winnings at U.K. employment tribunals are capped at about 80,000 pounds ($100,440) unless claimants can prove they were victims of discrimination or suffered detriment for disclosing corporate misconduct.

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