Banker sues Citi for downplaying sexual harassment claims

A managing director at Citigroup has sued the bank over its handling of sexual harassment and abuse allegations.

Ardith Lindsey, a managing director of Citi Electronic Markets who has served at the bank since 2007, has accused her employer of downplaying her complaints about former North America Markets head of cash equity execution services Mani Singh.

The suit alleges that Singh subjected Lindsey to years of volatile abuse, sometimes spurred on by consumption of alcohol or drugs. It says that Singh repeatedly threatened to destroy her career and reputation if she resisted his advances, while elsewhere it says that he likened himself to Frank Underwood, the Machiavelian politician from TV series ‘House of Cards’.

It adds that following the end of their relationship in October 2022, Singh spent days calling her and sending threatening messages.

Singh, who is not a defendant in the lawsuit, eventually left the bank the following month after Lindsey disclosed the messages. His departure was announced as being for ‘personal and family reasons’, while the suit also says that the bank did not tell the FINRA brokerage regulator about his misconduct on a form it was required to fill in upon his exit from the business.

Citi clarified this week that it suspended Singh after learning about his text messages, but that he resigned before an investigation could be completed.

The lawsuit also accuses Citi of tolerating a “notoriously hostile” environment inside its equities business. Lindsey claims that men in the division would openly rank female colleagues based on looks, discuss who they wanted to have sex with, pressure women to visit strip clubs, and would mock the bank’s sexual harassment training and women’s initiatives.

Lindsey has been on medical leave since late 2022, and said she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, memory loss and a 24-point drop in her IQ.

The lawsuit, one of many accusing big banks of creating hostile work environments for women, is seeking damages for violations of New York state and city civil rights laws. It also seeks damages under New York's Adult Survivors Act for an alleged incident of sexual assault by a separate Citigroup executive following a holiday party in December 2007.

In a statement, Citigroup said that it will defend itself against the claims made by the lawsuit: "Our values and expectations are clear – no one should ever be discriminated against or harassed in the workplace.”

"With regard to Mr. Singh, the conduct detailed in the complaint is deplorable, but the relationship Ms. Lindsey describes differs significantly from the accounts she previously provided.”

Lindsey’s lawyer Jeremiah Iadevaia said that the bank "repeatedly emboldened bad behavior by looking the other way.”

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