ANZ facing $30 million lawsuit from sacked employee over ‘toxic’ culture of sleaze: report

A FORMER employee of ANZ has described a toxic culture of sleaze where talk of “gang bangs”, strip clubs and drugs were rife, The Australian Financial Review reports.

Former trader Etienne Alexiou, who was stood down by ANZ last year over alleged “highly offensive and inappropriate” language in emails and chats on his Bloomberg terminal, has launched a $30 million lawsuit against his former employer.

The trader was one of seven who was stood down as part of an internal rate-fixing investigation in November 2014, but the company cited his offensive language in more than 400 internal and external communications as reason for his dismissal.

In his suit, Mr Alexiou claims he was “exposed to a culture” at the bank that “openly condoned” such behaviour, and that he repeatedly raised concerns with management about unethical conduct towards clients.

The bank alleged seven instances of lewd and sexually explicit chat messages about “gang bangs” and having girls eat sushi off him, according to the report. In his suit, Mr Alexiou claims one senior trader said “what a waste, it should have been sprinkled on a birthday cake”, after a “white substance” was found in the male toilet.

He details a number of such claims as evidence of a toxic culture within ANZ’s global markets division. Former ANZ bond salesman Patrick O’Connor has also his out at ANZ’s “toxic culture” in a separate legal suit, after he was fired for alleged misuse of the company credit card and explicit comments on his Bloomberg terminal.

ANZ refuted the claims, telling Fairfax that “many of the allegations made in both claims are not accurate and these inaccuracies will become apparent as the matters proceed through the court system”.