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Franck Dargent, the French banker who sent allegedly indecent messages, lost everything

Ten years ago, Franck Dargent, was flying high. After a 23-year banking career which began in Paris after he graduated from HEC, he was made head of global markets Asia Pacific for Crédit Agricole CIB, based in Hong Kong, where he managed nearly 300 employees.

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Four years later, Dargent's life fell apart. Fired from Crédit Agricole for sending allegedly inappropriate messages to eight women, Dargent had his deferred bonuses withheld, his salary stopped, and was left to make his way back to France on his own money. Dargent's LinkedIn account describes him as searching for a new job since 2018. 

Tragically, Dargent lost his wife and two sons in the Tsunami of 2004. He now runs a charity to provide assistance to those affected by natural disasters. 

It's a sad situation for a man whose previous 23 years in banking had been "without reproach" in the words of his lawyer. Dargent, who has since been locked in a court case with Crédit Agricole for close to €2m in withheld bonuses and compensation, had argued that the allegedly inappropriate messages were wrongly translated from French to English and were effectively therefore harmless banter. 

Bloomberg reports that those messages included comments sent to female employees saying, “I like the way you eat bananas... very inspiring,” “Why don’t you come to my place tonight,” “I loved your outfit this evening,” and, “You’re going to think I’m crazy or that my behavior is inappropriate, but I’d love to spend the rest of the night with you — just once.”   

A new judgement from the French Cour de Cassation on the case has been both positive and negative for Dargent. On one hand, it's let him keep about €800k in deferred bonuses. On the other, it's recommending that a €1m unfair dismissal payment should be removed and is suggesting that a fresh ruling should be made on his comments "of a sexual nature."

Dargent's lawyer, Florence Laussucq-Caston, said the case has not yet been decided and stressed that the latest ruling was positive for Dargent, who has at least received the €800k in deferred bonuses. He was let go with "extreme brutality," she added, and stressed that the tribunal had found there had been no sexual harassment. The judges have asked a panel to issue a fresh ruling.

Crédit Agricole didn't respond to a request to comment.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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