Feb 1, 2023
Lazard Fined in Germany for Failing to Prevent Insider Trading
(Bloomberg) -- Lazard Ltd. was fined €190,000 ($207,000) in a German insider-dealing investigation that last year led to the conviction of a former employee.
Frankfurt prosecutors found that the bank violated its duties to properly supervise its operations in Germany, a spokeswoman for the agency said by email on Tuesday. The fine was imposed in the fourth quarter of 2022 and Lazard accepted it, she added.
The sanction follows the conviction of the former Lazard trader who received a suspended sentence a year ago. He worked at the lender’s merger unit in Frankfurt and had access to in-house opinions on deals that were in the making. In court, he said the bank made it easy for him to commit his crimes.
Lazard said the fine was based solely on a claim regarding its supervisory duty, triggered by the illegal actions of the former employee who had deliberately disregarded strict confidentiality rules from 2019 to early 2020. When the company became aware of the misconduct, he was immediately fired. Lazard initiated an internal investigation and implemented additional precautionary measures, a spokesman for the bank said in a statement.
The judge at the time said that poor safety procedures at the bank even allowed its then-employee to get access to information on deals he wasn’t working on. A co-defendant who used the information generating gains of 8.5 million euros was sentenced to three years and eight months. The two men bet that shares of targets in the deals would rise once those opinions became public. The transactions include the takeover bid by Carlyle Group Inc. and Bain Capital for Osram Licht AG in 2018 and KKR & Co.’s investment offer to Axel Springer SE, according to the court’s findings.
Probes against three other men have also been concluded, according to the statement. A 43-year old was charged in March but the case was later dropped. In September, another suspect agreed to pay a fine to settle his probe and the third was cleared from the allegations, the prosecutors’ spokeswoman said. A fourth suspect had already been cleared in 2021.
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