Bloomberg News

Markit Sues Two Ex-Employees Over Misuse of Data, Forming Rival

September 20, 2011

Sept. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Markit Group Ltd., a provider of data on bonds and credit-default swaps, sued two former employees in Singapore, claiming they breached their employment contracts and misused the firm’s confidential information.

Zhibo Li and Shiyang Cui “systemically and deliberately siphoned off” Markit’s proprietary information to set up rival Fundamentrix Pte, according to a lawsuit filed with the Singapore High Court earlier this month. The first closed hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.

Li, who was fired in May as a vice-president of sales in Markit’s Singapore office, induced Cui, an associate vice- president, to break his employment contract, according to the lawsuit. Cui had installed software on his computer at work that allowed him to copy trade secrets including Markit’s mathematical valuation models, London-based Markit said in court papers.

A Notice of Appearance hasn’t been filed for the two men, indicating they are not yet officially represented by lawyers. Neither replied to two e-mails seeking comment on the lawsuit.

Li failed to get Bank of China Ltd. and China Development Bank Corp. to sign contracts with Markit after claiming the firm had won tenders with the Chinese banks, according to the lawsuit. Markit said Li, who helped develop its business in China from Singapore, had no authority to agree to offer its services to Bank of China at “a deeply discounted price” or sign a request for proposal.

Markit, which doesn’t have an office in China, is in discussions with Bank of China on how it can fulfill part of the mandate stated in the proposal, according to the lawsuit.

Markit was “cautious” in considering when to open an office in China because of costs, unfamiliarity with the country’s business and regulatory environment, the lack of sales achieved by Li and not having a suitable senior candidate to head the office, the firm said in its lawsuit.

Caroline Lumley, a London-based spokeswoman at Markit, declined to comment on the lawsuit or the company’s China plans.

Markit, with more than 2,300 employees, provides derivative and bond data to its customers. Bloomberg LP, the owner of Bloomberg News, competes with Markit in selling information to the financial-services industry.

The case is Markit Asia Pte & Ors v Zhibo Li & Ors S628/2011 in the Singapore High Court.

--Editors: Dave McCombs, Nicholas Wadhams

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Tan in Singapore at atan17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Douglas Wong at dwong19@bloomberg.net


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