Ex-Deutsche Bank Trader Christian Bittar Banned From Finance

(Bloomberg) -- Former Deutsche Bank AG trader Christian Bittar, who once pocketed a bonus of nearly 90 million pounds ($118 million), was banned from the finance industry after pleading guilty to conspiring to rig a key benchmark rate.

Bittar “lacks integrity and therefore fitness and propriety to carry out such a role,” the Financial Conduct Authority said in an emailed statement. If he hadn’t been convicted and imprisoned, the regulator said it would have sought a financial penalty of 6.5 million pounds.

Bittar, who traded interest rate derivative products linked to benchmarks including Euribor, was sentenced in July to more than five years in prison. Bittar, a math whiz, was once among the bank’s highest-paid traders.

He’d asked Euribor submitters at Deutsche Bank and other banks to send high or low figures in order to benefit his trading position, the FCA said in its statement. Sometimes he requested numbers to benefit other traders, it said.

The regulator’s notice banning Bittar “is a tale of gross misconduct and betrayal of the public interest in financial benchmarks,” said Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA.

A call to Bittar’s lawyer wasn’t immediately returned. The regulator officially banned Bittar in April, but didn’t publish the decision until Friday, after the resolution of a related civil lawsuit.

His guilty plea in March was a seminal moment for U.K. prosecutors, since Bittar was one of the highest-profile traders to be convicted in the global rate-rigging probe. Deutsche Bank was fined $2.5 billion by global regulators in 2015 for failing to prevent attempts to rig benchmark rates.

As perhaps the world’s best derivatives trader, Bittar was probably not motivated by greed, but rather by the satisfaction of being able to beat the system without being detected, Judge Michael Gledhill said at the time of his sentencing.

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