Trader Takes $188 Million Case Against BNP Paribas to Paris Court

Known only as Armin S, the German trader took advantage of a typing error to order a massively under-priced derivative

A German trader who wants BNP Paribas to pay him €163 million ($188 million) over a derivatives transaction has taken his case to a French court.

The trader, who is known only as Armin S, initially sued the French bank in a German court.

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But, back in September, he limited his claim against BNP Paribas to $6 million, down from his original €163 million claim.

According to Bloomberg, the reason for this decision was to reduce the potential for high legal fees that would have been incurred had Armin S pursued that higher amount.

“The case by now has already cost me 60,000 euros, and that’s only the trial stage,” he said in an interview given at the time. “Any appeals would increase the bill and if I lose, I will also have to pay the other side’s lawyers.”

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From Frankfurt to Paris

Still, when you are trying to get your hands on the sort of cash that would enable you, your children, and your children’s children never to work again, you are going to try everything you can to get a hold of it.

So the German mystery trader took his case to the French court but, significantly, did not close the ongoing case in Frankfurt.

European Union law which, ten years ago, ran close to 700,000 pages, dictates that the first court to receive a case must decide on the proper jurisdiction while the other court waits.

That means that Armin S can preserve his $188 million claim in Paris, without having to pay hefty legal fees and without the case’s statute of limitations reaching their conclusion.

The entire case traces back to a pricing mistake by BNP Paribas which Armin S was able to take advantage of.

According to Bloomberg, a typing error by the bank allowed him to place an order for a derivative at €326,400 ($376,324) instead of its true value, €163 million.

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