Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- A former HSBC Holdings Plc equity derivatives trader was awarded a 56,300 euros ($63,400) payout in a French unfair-dismissal lawsuit after the bank fired him for sending client data to his personal Yahoo! Inc. e-mail address.

The Paris employment tribunal ordered HSBC to pay Ben Lazimy the compensation, which falls far short of the $2.6 million he was demanding. The bank dismissed him for sending a 1,400-page spreadsheet with all of HSBC’s equities transactions in 2010, a list that included client names and margins.

Banks are under growing pressure to secure their data after high-profile cyber attacks against JPMorgan Chase & Co. and HSBC led to the loss of millions of customer records. One of the most severe risks for a data breach comes from employees, who might unwittingly upload a virus or be blackmailed into helping an attacker.

HSBC is particularly sensitive about the issue after former employee Herve Falciani said he took client data to prove that its Geneva private banking unit was helping foreign clients evade taxes. The case generated global headlines after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published a report known as the Swiss Leaks based on Falciani’s data.

HSBC and Lazimy didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday’s ruling.

‘Damaged and Unusable’

Lazimy’s lawyer, Jamila El Berry, said at an April hearing that her client didn’t breach professional secrecy as the document never got into any outsider’s hands. The spreadsheet was widely available within the bank -- even to interns -- and a police report found the attachment “was damaged and unusable,” she said, adding that prosecutors dismissed HSBC’s criminal complaint.

El Berry said that the e-mail incident was an excuse to fire him, which adds to the harassment he suffered after refusing to transfer from Paris to London amid a bank restructuring. Lazimy went from being praised by management and rising to the position of director to getting negative evaluations, a salary freeze, no bonuses and a reduction to his responsibilities, she told the tribunal.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gaspard Sebag in Paris at gsebag@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net, Peter Chapman, Michael Shanahan

©2016 Bloomberg L.P.

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