Citigroup used a London banker as ‘scapegoat’ in $45m failure—now he wants to return to work for the bank after winning an unfair dismissal lawsuit

A Citigroup banker who claims he was used as a “scapegoat” in a $45 million regulatory failure wants to come back and work for the bank again after winning a lawsuit against his former employer.

Judges at a U.K. employment tribunal ruled Ian Weir, a former pan-Asian equities trader based in London, was unfairly dismissed after the bank received a hefty fine for a decade of regulatory oversights, Bloomberg reports.

Citigroup was fined HK$348.3 million ($44.6 million) by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in January last year after the regulator found Citi employees made false claims about trades to drum up interest from clients in order to increase their value. This occurred over a decade between 2008 and 2018. 

“The severity of CGMAL’s failures exposed a culture that encouraged chasing revenue at the expense of basic standards of honesty,” the SFC’s CEO Ashley Alder said in a statement at the time of the ruling.

Weir was one of the bankers fired by Citi in June 2021 following an internal investigation, Bloomberg reports, in which the bank found he and others failed to disclose Citi’s financial interests in certain trades.

However, lawyers for Weir said he was given minimal compliance training in the years since he joined the bank in 2014, while they argue he also tried to flag his concerns about regulatory shortcomings to the bank on several occasions. 

They argued he was fired as part of a “cleaning house” operation in which Weir was made a “scapegoat,” Bloomberg previously reported. He sought £123,197 ($149,460) in damages.

“The sanction issued by the SFC is a drop in the ocean for Citi, yet Citi has imposed a sanction on me that has significantly ruined my career opportunities and cost me millions of dollars,” Weir said in a witness statement, Bloomberg reported at the time.

He has now been cleared of any wrongdoing by a London employment tribunal judge.

In a statement, a representative for Citigroup told Fortune: “We note the court’s judgment and are considering our options, including an appeal.”

No bad blood?

Most people would consider winning an unfair dismissal lawsuit as the final chapter in a bitter saga with their former employer. But for Weir, it may just be the beginning of his second phase with the company.

Since losing his job at Citi, Weir appears to have been forced to move to the other side of the world to work as a senior dealer at Mason Stevens in Sydney, Australia, according to his Linkedin. 

But throwing any signs of bad blood to the wind, the trader is now making plans to get his old job back with Citigroup following the judgment, Weir’s lawyer Rachel O’Connell, a director at Just Employment Solicitors, told Fortune.

“It can be very daunting to take on such a huge global organization such as Citi group and their team of lawyers and it takes a great deal of strength and courage to do so,” O’Connell wrote in an email.

“However, my client, as he was throughout, was determined to clear his name and can now hopefully move on with his head held high in a career he thoroughly enjoys.”

While it is considering an appeal, Citi may have to chalk this case up to a loss after previously winning its last high-profile dismissal trial.

In October, former Citi analyst Szabolcs Fekete lost his claim against the bank when he expensed meals for his partner through the company, before claiming he had eaten twice.

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