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De Groot Seeks GBP 5.1 Million for “Unfair Dismissal”

BNP Paribas’ former global head of FX
trading Bob de Groot is claiming GBP 5.1 million compensation over his
dismissal from the bank last year, arguing he was dismissed because of his
whistleblowing over over-stated trading volumes.

De Groot’s hearing started in London this
week after
being postponed
from its original date in April. He was suspended by BNP in
March 2013
, however no reason was given then, or has been since. De Groot
has been named in unfair dismissal cases brought by traders at his previous
employer, Citi, however while the judgement in one case accepts de Groot encouraged
participation in chat rooms
it also notes he did not direct the trader to
share confidential information.

According to a report by Bloomberg de Groot’s witness statement
claims he was dismissed for highlighting concerns over inflated volume data
reported by the bank’s swaps business in order to boost bonuses for sales staff
in that area and their managers.

“I believe my
suspension was a means of getting me out of the way and perhaps making me
appear to the FCA [Financial Conduct Authority] to be part of the problem so
that my very real disclosures could be made to look less credible, significant
or serious,” Bloomberg reports
from his witness statement. “[The] consequence of mis-recording was that sales
volumes and credits would be artificially increased, benefiting the bonuses of
sales people and their managers, while those paid to spot traders and
spot-trading management would be lower. The shareholders would also normally
share in these profits that the salespeople and management were essentially

The bank’s legal
representative hit back at de Groot, however, Bloomberg reports he told the plaintiff he was “massively
exaggerating” the scale of his concerns and that he brought the claim because he
thought that BNP Paribas wouldn’t fight litigation where those sorts of
allegations were being used, “because they’d be worried about press attention
and in the face of that worry would pay out a massive sum of money to you.”

The case, which is the
latest in a long line of unfair dismissal claims being brought by FX traders
against former employers, continues this week. If de Groot achieves
whistleblower status the UK’s limit on compensation for unfair dismissal, set
at GBP 78,800, is removed.

Twitter @lamboPnL


Colin Lambert

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