Photographer: Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg

Ex-SocGen Trader Charged Over Euribor Sues Bank for $9.4 Million

  • Stephane Esper asks for damages and money to cover legal fees
  • Case to be heard in full in July at Paris employment tribunal

Former Societe Generale SA trader Stephane Esper, who faces U.K. charges for rigging a key interest-rate benchmark, is suing the bank at a French employment tribunal for more than 8 million euros ($9.4 million).

The civil lawsuit was discussed Monday in Paris but won’t be heard in full until July 30. Esper, who left the bank in 2009, is seeking the money to cover the cost of his legal fees fighting the U.K. charges and other damages.

Esper was among 11 traders who worked at Deutsche Bank AG, Barclays Plc and Societe Generale charged by the U.K. prosecutors in 2015 for allegedly conspiring to “procure or make submissions” that attempted to manipulate the euro interbank offered rate between 2005 and 2009. A different French court rejected a bid to extradite him to the U.K. to stand trial earlier this year.

Representatives for SocGen and the U.K. Serious Fraud Office declined to immediately comment.

Judges at the employment tribunal Monday granted a delay sought by a SocGen lawyer who complained that Esper’s counsel handed in “substantial” written submissions months after a deadline, leaving him less than three weeks to reply.

Esper’s lawyer, Alexia Boursier, said the move was just designed to “gain time” and that the bank was very familiar with the bulk of the arguments from a related case where he had sought an urgent ruling.

During the 2016 hearing in that case, Esper’s lawyers argued that SocGen was withholding documents he needed to prepare his defense against the U.K. charges. Judges turned down the request, ruling there were no grounds to issue an urgent ruling.

In the U.K. criminal case, six of the 11 traders pleaded not guilty this year and are scheduled to stand trial in 2018. Paris judges rejected the U.K. arrest warrant, ruling that the alleged conduct, which took place in France, wasn’t illegal in the country when it occurred a decade ago.

Four Deutsche Bank traders in Germany are also fighting the European Arrest Warrants issued by U.K. prosecutors in the case. The warrants are typically valid throughout the 28-nation European Union, but suspects can challenge them in their home countries over jurisdiction and double jeopardy issues.

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