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    Financial services group faces race bias claim

    An Asian City analyst yesterday accused AIG, one of the world’s largest financial services groups, of being “institutionally racist”.

    Mauritius-born Fadil Dookhy, who joined the US based company’s London office as an equity analyst on its “small cap” team in 2002, also alleged at the Central London Employment Tribunal that a senior broker at Ireland’s Davy Stockbrokers had passed “inside information” to his fund manager boss at AIG.

    Mr Dookhy is bringing a claim for race discrimination and unfair dismissal against AIG, the world’s largest insurer by market capitalisation whose London-based European arm claims to count half Britain’s top 1,000 companies as its clients.

    Mr Dookhy, a Muslim, told the tribunal yesterday that he received a very good probation review when he joined AIG.

    He began to encounter problems with Chantal Brennan, his boss after he asked to take later lunches on Friday to attend the mosque.

    The analyst claimed that she then humiliated him in a variety of ways: asking whether he planned an arranged wedding, sending him on a business lunch meeting during Ramadan and joking about his dietary needs in front of others.

    He also said that she told him that he was “browner” than before after a holiday to Mauritius.

    Mr Dookhy told the tribunal that Patrick Dempsey, a senior broker at Davy Stockbrokers had a “close working relationship” with Ms Brennan, and that the Irish firm had been the second highest commission earner in advance of BNP Paribas and Citigroup as a result.

    He alleged that, early in March 2002, Mr Dempsey told Ms Brennan in advance that Tullow Oil, an Irish company, planned a share placing the following week – “inside” information that would be price-sensitive.

    Accordingly to Mr Dookhy, Ms Brennan told other staff, including himself and a compliance officer. The stock was put on a restrictive basis, barring any trading until the information was public. But he alleged that the breach was not reported.

    Mr Dookhy maintains that he was given an “insultingly low bonus” of £2,500 in May 2003. Others, including Ms Brennan, got 20 times that – action to force him out.

    Matters deteriorated sharply after Mr Dookhy returned from a fund managers’ trip to Dublin, organised by Davy Stockbrokers, with a variety of allegations and counter-allegations about inappropriate behaviour being made.

    On June 30 2003, the analyst sent a grievance letter. He was suspended soon afterwards.

    After disciplinary proceedings and an appeal, Mr Dookhy was dismissed. He claims that how these processes were handed supports his claims that AIG is “[institutionally] racist”.

    AIG said last night: “We have and are committed to an equal opportunities policy which prohibits any form of discrimination and takes violations very seriously.

    “In this case the plaintiff was dismissed for misconduct and as the case is continuing it would be improper to comment further. However, AIG global investments group, against whom the claim is brought, will vigorously defend it.”

    Paula Downey, a compliance officer at Davy, said that Mr Dempsey had made a statement to the tribunal, and voluntarily agreed to appear as a witness.

    The statement made clear that the only contact he had with Mr Dookhy was during the Dublin trip.

    “Financial Times”:2004