In an odd turn of events, Deutsche Bank whistle-blower Eric Ben-Artzi has rejected a multimillion dollar award from the SEC. The former risk officer was one of three ex-employees who gave information to the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2010 and 2011, over false account reporting by the bank. The evidence proved crucial and Deutsche Bank was fined $55million, of which Ben-Artzi is entitled to 15%, amounting to $8.25 million. Ben-Artzi was fired by Deutsche Bank when he began asking questions. He said the financial reward was a strong incentive for his cooperation with the SEC. However, Ben-Artzi found the fine too lenient and believes the real losers from the verdict would be the shareholders and employees.
Eric Ben-Artzi asked that his share be donated to the bank, meaning the employees and shareholders. He believes the top executives got off easy, without any repercussions to their jobs or income. Some retired with multimillion dollar packages, while a large number of Deutsche Bank employees have since been fired. He went on to say, in an article written in the Financial Times, that he believed the light ruling was as a result of the close ties the SEC has with the lawyers of Deutsche Bank. These include Robert Rice, former lawyer in charge of the internal investigation at the bank in 2011, who joined the SEC in 2013 as chief counsel for the investigation. Deutsche Bank’s top North American lawyer, Robert Khuzami, also joined the SEC. He also mentioned that the head of the SEC, Mary Jo White, has had a long term working relationship with both individuals, alongside other top lawyers at the firm.
Ben-Artzi believed his fate would be similar to previous whistle-blowers who were unable to get jobs afterwards, but he is currently the VP of risk analytics at BondIT.