Ex-Thomson Reuters employee sues over survey distribution

Thu Apr 4, 2013 6:05pm EDT

* Consumer survey said to be released at different times

* Ex-employee says in lawsuit he was fired after talking to FBI

* Thomson Reuters says accusations are 'without merit'

April 4 (Reuters) - A former Thomson Reuters Corp employee has filed a lawsuit saying he was fired for telling the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he believed the company violated insider-trading laws in releasing a consumer sentiment survey early to some subscribers.

In the lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in Manhattan federal court, Mark Rosenblum said he was terminated after telling U.S. authorities that the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers was released at different times to different subscribers.

"We believe the accusations from the complainant against Thomson Reuters to be unsubstantiated and without merit, and we will defend against them vigorously," a company spokesman said in a statement.

Rosenblum said in his court papers that Thomson Reuters releases the monthly survey to so-called "ultra low-latency" subscribers at two seconds before 9:55 a.m. ET, to "desktop" subscribers at 9:55 a.m., and to the general public at 10 a.m.

In the financial services industry, low latency is a reference to higher speed services often used by high-frequency traders.

Rosenblum said in the court papers that last June 29, he told an unnamed FBI agent that he believed this "tiered release" violated federal securities laws, and that on the same day he told company executives that he had contacted federal investigators about the matter.

In the lawsuit, Rosenblum said he was fired on Aug. 3 from his job as a redistribution specialist, without severance, for engaging in protected whistleblowing activity under the 2010 Dodd-Frank law. He is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Jesse Rose, a lawyer for Rosenblum, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

FBI spokesman Jim Margolin declined to comment.

The case is Rosenblum v. Thomson Reuters (Markets) LLC, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-02219.

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