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Washington — A US regulator handed a record reward of almost $200m in a whistle-blower case, with sources familiar with the matter identifying the recipient as a former Deutsche Bank employee.
The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced the award on Thursday, without disclosing details about the whistle-blower or the case. It said the award was for “nearly $200m”.
Two sources told Reuters the whistle-blower had previously worked for the German bank.
A Deutsche Bank spokesperson declined to comment.
In the past decade, authorities globally have levied multibillion-dollar fines and pursued criminal charges against banks and traders for banding together to rig global benchmarks, most notoriously the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor).
Law firm Kirby McInerney said in a statement its client scored the record bounty after providing extensive information and documents in 2012 that “catalysed” investigations by the CFTC and a foreign regulator into benchmark manipulation.
David Kovel, the whistle-blower's attorney from Kirby McInerney, said: “The whistle-blower award amount may seem shocking but it's because the ability to manipulate and make huge profits is shocking. It follows from the misconduct.”
The law firm also did not name the whistle-blower.
US legislators recently passed legislation to keep the CFTC's whistle-blower programme afloat. The Wall Street Journal reported in May that the agency's whistle-blower programme was at risk due to a large expected payout to a former Deutsche Bank executive related to its $2.5bn Libor settlement.
A spokesperson for the CFTC declined to comment, citing agency policy.
The amount, the largest for any government whistle-blower programme, was “mind-blowing”, Erika Kelton, an attorney with Phillips & Cohen who has represented several whistle-blowers in the past, said in a statement.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.