FCA bans former Deutsche Bank trader Christian Bittar

Written by Oliver Wade

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has banned Christian Bittar from performing any function in relation to any regulated financial activity.

Bittar formerly worked at Deutsche Bank where he traded interest rate derivative products referenced to benchmarks, including EURIBOR, but the regulator found that he lacked integrity and therefore fitness and propriety to carry out such a role.

The former trader made requests to EURIBOR submitters to make high or low EURIBOR submissions to both internal Deutsche Bank submitters and to external traders at other EURIOBOR panel banks. Bittar did so to benefit the profitability of the trading positions for which he was responsible and, on occasion, the profitability of the trading positions of other traders.

Commenting on the ban, FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward said: “The FCA’s Decision Notice against Mr Bittar, which was issued in April 2017, can now be published. It is a detailed account of how Mr Bittar sought to manipulate EURIBOR. It is a tale of gross misconduct and betrayal of the public interest in financial benchmarks.

“If he had not been convicted and imprisoned for the same matters, the FCA would have sought a financial penalty of £6.5 million. As it is, we have prohibited him from performing any regulated function, reinforcing the message of the criminal court.”

On 13 April 2017, the regulator issued Bittar with a Decision Notice, imposing a financial penalty on him of £6.5m. He then referred the notice to the Upper Tribunal on 10 May 2017, with the proceedings being stayed on 1 August 2017 pending the final determination of the criminal proceedings against Bitter for conspiracy to defraud.

The ex-trader pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud in the criminal action on 2 March 2018 and on 20 July 2018 he was sentenced to 5 years and 4 months imprisonment, and ordered to pay £2.5m by way of confiscation order.

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