HSBC Holdings Plc denied wrongdoing in its hiring of dozens of employees of the former Silicon Valley Bank two weeks after the collapsed lender was bought by First Citizens Bank & Trust Co.
(Bloomberg) — HSBC Holdings Plc denied wrongdoing in its hiring of dozens of employees of the former Silicon Valley Bank two weeks after the collapsed lender was bought by First Citizens Bank & Trust Co.
The acquisition by First Citizens didn’t come with “any rights or obligations concerning former SVB employment agreements,” lawyers for HSBC said in a court filing Monday. Therefore, HSBC wasn’t barred from hiring former SVB employees, the London-based bank said.
First Citizens described HSBC’s hiring of 42 former SVB employees as “poaching” in a lawsuit it filed in May in San Francisco federal court. It also accused the UK bank of misusing SVB’s confidential and trade secret information.
Read More: First Citizens Sues HSBC for Stealing SVB Staff, Secrets
HSBC asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit. “First Citizens did not acquire the unfettered right to harass former SVB employees trying to put their careers back together after SVB’s collapse — let alone by asserting claims and contracts First Citizens never acquired and affirmatively disclaimed,” HSBC’s lawyers wrote.
“Contrary to the picture First Citizens attempts to paint, First Citizens is not a victim,” according to Monday’s filing. “In the two months following its execution of the purchase agreement, First Citizens’ stock price increased 122%. It acquired billions of dollars of SVB assets at a steep discount, subject to standard FDIC terms that protect purchasers like First Citizens. Having accepted the benefits of these terms, it cannot renege on them now.”
Santa Clara, California-based SVB was placed into receivership in early March, becoming the biggest US lender to fail in more than a decade after an unsuccessful attempt to raise capital amid an exodus of cash from the tech startups that formed the backbone of its operations. HSBC bought its UK assets.
The case is First Citizens Bank v. HSBC Holdings, 23-cv-02483, US District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).
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