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Ex-Citi banker says she was fired for refusing to give false data to regulator

FILE PHOTO: The Citigroup Inc logo is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto

By Saeed Azhar

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former managing director at Citigroup sued the bank and its chief operating officer on Wednesday, alleging she was fired for opposing what she said were attempts to give regulators false information.

Kathleen Martin, a former managing director Citi hired in 2021 to help with data issues, said in a lawsuit filed in a New York district federal court that her supervisor COO Anand Selva wanted her to hide "critical information" from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) about the bank’s data governance metrics.

Speaking for the bank and Selva, a Citigroup spokesperson said in a statement "this lawsuit is without merit and we will vigorously defend against it."

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OCC did not immediately provide comment.

The lawsuit alleges that Selva wanted to hide information because it would make the bank "look bad."

Selva urged Martin to falsely tell the regulator that Citi had achieved particular goals when it had not, the lawsuit alleged.

Martin was fired in Sept. 25, 2023, in retaliation for her complaints, it said.

The data governance work was related to a 2020 OCC consent order, according to the lawsuit.

OCC and the Federal Reserve in 2020 directed the bank to fix longstanding and widespread deficiencies in its risk management, data governance and internal controls.

Martin's attorney, Valdi Licul from law firm Wigdor LLP,said in a statement that her client "at all times acted to protect Citi's interests."

She is urging the court to reinstate her with the same seniority status and is seeking back pay, including bonuses.

The case is Martin v. Citibank NA et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 24-03949.

(Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Josie Kao)