Deutsche Bank uses Freshfields in bonus battle

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is defending Deutsche Bank against claims made by two of its senior executives that the bank cheated them out of a special bonus worth e5m (£3.38m).

The case is the latest multimillion-pound bonus dispute involving a big financial institution and has been earmarked as the trial that could put a stop to similar cases.

Commercial litigation boutique Ferguson Solicitors has taken on the magic circle law firm in an attempt to prove that the bank breached its contract with Paul Rivlin and Neil Lawson-May, the former joint heads of Deutsche’s European real estate business. In the High Court trial, the claimants alleged Deutsche reneged on a deal that entitled them to 5 per cent of the profit of a property transaction with Italian utility company Enel, which made e100m (£67.5m) for the bank.

Deutsche, however, argued that they were only eligible to be “considered” for a special bonus under “an informal and discretionary arrangement”.

The bank went on to state that the pair received £1m in salary and bonuses in the year of the Enel deal, and it was within its rights not to give a special bonus award.

Ferguson partner Fiona Macdonald instructed Edwin Glasgow QC of 39 Essex Street. Freshfields partner Caroline Stroud called on Essex Court’s Andrew Hochhauser QC.