Deutsche Bank Must Give Fired Euribor Traders Same Jobs

Apr 08, 2014 7:29 am ET

(Updates with court comment in third paragraph.)

April 8 (Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Bank AG was ordered to give four traders fired in a rate-rigging investigation their exact jobs back while a court is hearing an appeals bid by the lender over the issue.

The lender must pay a penalty equal to the men’s month salary unless it reinstates them in their original positions, Frankfurt Labor Appeals Court spokesman Wolfram Henkel said in an interview today. The money would go to the state budget and is intended to make Deutsche Bank comply with a lower court ruling that said the lender had no right to fire the men.

Regulators around the world are investigating whether more than a dozen firms colluded to rig benchmark interest rates. Deutsche Bank, Barclays Plc, UBS AG and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc are among companies that have been fined about $6 billion for rigging the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, the benchmark for more than $300 trillion of securities worldwide.

The Frankfurt Labor Court ruled last year the terminations were illegal and the bank must reinstate the employees, who made submissions for Euribor and Swiss Franc Libor.

The court found “indications” that the fired staff wrongfully took derivatives trading positions into account when deciding what rates to submit.

Insufficient Guidelines

While it’s against bank rules to fix rates, the lender couldn’t use this as a reason to fire them because it didn’t have sufficient guidelines on rate submissions, didn’t control the process, and had systems in place that fostered the behavior, the court wrote in the judgment.

The four traders included two managing directors, a vice president and a director. The total monthly pay of the four men, who were fired in February 2013, ranged from 10,833 euros ($14,900) to 22,083 euros, according to court documents.

Deutsche Bank has appealed that decision. Today’s ruling said the traders must get their jobs back while the overall appeals case is pending.

The men, whose names weren’t disclosed, returned to work in November, according to the bank. They have claimed in court that they weren’t given back their original jobs.

Armin Niedermeier, a spokesman for Deutsche Bank, declined to comment. Peter Roelz, the men’s lawyer, didn’t immediately reply to an e-mail seeking comment.