Deutsche Bank Whistleblower Turns Down $8.25 Million Reward

Amisha Mehta, Deputy Editor, 22 August 2016


The whistleblower has expressed concern that top executives involved in a wrongdoing at Germany’s largest lender have gone unpunished while shareholders have been left to pay.

Eric Ben-Artzi, a former Deutsche Bank risk officer who helped expose false accounting at the lender, has said he refused an $8.25 million reward from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ben-Artzi wrote in a Financial Times opinion article on Friday that he declined his share of the $16.5 million payout that the SEC offered for blowing the whistle on Deutsche Bank's overvaluation of a derivatives portfolio at the height of the financial crisis. 

“I will not join the looting of the very people I was hired to protect,” he wrote. He said the fine should be paid by individual executives, not shareholders, and also highlighted the “revolving door” of senior personnel between the SEC and Germany’s largest bank.

“This goes beyond the typical revolving-door story,” Ben-Artzi wrote in the article. “In this case, top SEC lawyers had held senior posts at the bank, moving in and out of top positions at the SEC even as the investigations into malfeasance at Deutsche Bank were ongoing.”

The $55 million fine that the bank paid in a settlement, which was announced by the SEC in May last year, penalised shareholders while top executives retired with their multi-million dollar bonuses intact, he wrote in the column.

Ben-Artzi sued the bank for wrongful dismissal in 2012. All of the management board members who led the company at the time have since left, Bloomberg reported.

Deutsche Bank and the SEC could not immediately be reached for comment.

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