Deutsche Bank didn’t fire a fortune teller in the strip club expense saga

Deutsche Bank made headlines last week for scrapping a group of bankers who spent a night at a strip club and lied about it – but spared the lone clerk who “confessed,” the Post has learned.

As reported by The Post, the German financial giant launched an investigation after bankers tried to issue a bill for a single evening’s debauchery, which sources said exceeded $1,000.

The bankers had gone to Sapphire New York — a rickety joint on the Upper East Side that also runs a steakhouse that offers a $25 “body sushi” experience where diners have raw fish removed from the body of an exotic dancer, said a source with knowledge.

While three fired bankers had insisted the fat bill be called at a steakhouse, insiders said a young banker who came along confessed the employees had actually gone to a strip club.

The subordinate “actually expressed remorse” for the ill-fated outing and was spared being fired by his bosses, a source told The Post.

The Germans’ decision to keep the one fortune teller underscores that the bank was more concerned about deception than anything else, people close to the bank said. According to one source, at least one of the bankers who were fired did not even attend the evening.

“It was really about the cover-up and deception,” the source said. “The cover-up was worse than the crime.”

strip club
Deutsche Bank fired four financiers for spending a night at a strip club and then covering it up.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

In a statement to The Post, a spokesman said: “Deutsche Bank is investigating allegations of possible wrongdoing in a thorough, comprehensive and impartial manner. We do not condone violations of our Code of Conduct or Company policy and will take appropriate corrective action depending on the severity of the circumstances. The bank declined to comment further on the circumstances of this particular matter.”

According to its website, Sapphire caters to businesses and even offers a relatively affordable “corporate package” that includes free admission for five people, a VIP table on the ground floor, and a $500 food and beverage credit. The total cost including taxes is $683.04. (The cost of a lap dance could not be ascertained, but visitors to the site are offered a freebie simply by subscribing to Sapphire’s mailing list.)

The Post was unable to reach Sapphire or Primal Cut, the steakhouse listed at the same address as the Upper East Side Strip Club, which describes the restaurant as “the ultimate fine dining experience and the perfect complement to Sapphire NY.” .

Not only did the fired bankers lose their jobs, they also lost millions in deferred compensation, people told The Post.

Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt
Deutsche Bank has fired several top employees for not telling the truth about filing an expense report for a strip club restaurant, sources told the Post.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

At Deutsche Bank, bonuses for top employees – typically a mix of stock and cash – are mostly deferred or vested over several years, experts told The Post. The goal is to bind top employees to the long-term performance of the company by keeping part of their bonuses, it said. If an employee is fired for cause, they lose all deferred compensation that they have accumulated.

For two of the fired bankers — the head of equity markets, Ben Darsney, and the chief executive who ran most of the bank’s SPAC business, Ravi Raghunathan — those bonuses were substantial.

Insiders are speculating that Darsney and Raghunathan have lost as much as $6 million as several years of delay were combined, people with knowledge told The Post.

File photo of a strip club
The lone employee who told the truth about the strip club’s expenses has not been fired, a source familiar with the matter told The Post.
Getty Images

“It’s like a tiered tax table — the more you earn, the more that’s deferred,” one person with knowledge told the Post. “For people like Ravi and Ben, probably 100% of their bonuses have been deferred in the last three to four years.” And in recent years, bankers have received record bonuses in a flurry of deals.

But losing all deferred compensation could actually make it easier for them to find jobs elsewhere, a source told The Post. If a competitor wants to hire a banker from another company, the bank must offer a competitive salary and pay out the banker’s deferred compensation.

Given the popularity of Darsney and Raghunathan with customers, people close to the men believe they will land on their feet.

“The speculation is that by July 4 they will all have landed somewhere,” one person told The Post. Deutsche Bank didn’t fire a fortune teller in the strip club expense saga


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