FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank (DBK.DE) launched a legal appeal against a German labor court ruling that forced it to reinstate four fired traders, potentially exposing the lender to new embarrassing testimony.
Deutsche is seeking to reverse a September ruling in favor of four traders who claimed wrongful dismissal after the bank accused them of violating company policy by inappropriately communicating with other traders over benchmark interbank lending rates.
The appeal risks exposing Germany's flagship lender, which already faces a long list of lawsuits and legal actions, to another lengthy process as regulators pore over evidence produced at the first labor court action.
Regulators around the world are investigating the role of Deutsche Bank and other banks and brokers in the global rate- rigging scandal.
Authorities in the United States, Britain and elsewhere have so far fined UBS (UBSN.VX), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L), Barclays (BARC.L), Rabobank (RABO.UL) and broker ICAP (IAP.L) $3.7 billion for manipulating rates.
Deutsche Bank is one of the banks expected to face heavy fines from European Union antitrust regulators.
The London inter-bank offered rate (Libor) and its European cousin (Euribor) are used to price hundreds of trillions of dollars in assets, from mortgages to derivatives.
The labor lawsuit has already proved embarrassing for Deutsche, because the court said the lender itself had contributed to the problems that led to the dismissals.
When deciding in favor of the traders in September, a Frankfurt judge said that the bank oversaw organizational lapses that created a working environment that could have led to the rigging of interest rates.
Germany's financial supervisor BaFin last week took possession of testimony delivered to the labor court in September.
"We'll look at and evaluate the files from that process," said a BaFin spokesman. "We want to see whether there were new facts that were rendered by the court that would be of interest to us."
In a case demonstrating just how expensive post-crisis litigation has become for banks, JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N) on Tuesday agreed to pay a record $13 billion to settle charges that it overstated the quality of mortgages sold to investors leading up to the financial crisis.
The mortgage case is unconnected to Deutsche Bank.
Germany's largest bank has set aside 4.1 billion euros to cover potential litigation costs.
German daily Handelsblatt earlier on Wednesday reported that Deutsche Bank had appealed against the reinstatement ruling, which the bank confirmed without commenting further.
The lawyer representing the four reinstated traders, Peter Roelz, said he was awaiting formal notification of the appeal and declined to comment further.
(Reporting by Thomas Atkins; Editing by Erica Billingham)