Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

'Risk culture at rogue trader bank'

Kweku Adoboli is accused of gambling away more than a billion pounds

A culture of financial risk-seeking and taking existed at a bank where an alleged rogue trader accused of losing £1.4 billion worked, a court has heard.

The team on UBS's London exchange traded funds (ETF) desk, including Kweku Adoboli, were known to take greater risks than their counterparts in the Swiss bank's New York office, one of his former supervisors said.

John DiBacco, who oversaw the bank's ETF teams and was later sacked, also told the court he informed investigators that more senior managers told him to be careful not to "stifle" Adoboli, 32, and his co-traders, as "they like to trade".

Southwark Crown Court, where Adoboli is facing two counts of fraud and two counts of false accounting, heard DiBacco told KPMG accountants of "that attitude to risk, to be seeking to accept more risk and take more risk in London than in the US", adding: "When the traders have less to do, they find things to do."

Paul Garlic QC, representing Adoboli, asked the American: "The trading, would you say it was very much more aggressive than the equities desk in the US? The trading and culture in London was much less risk averse?"

He replied: "In my experience that is true."

Adoboli is facing two counts of fraud and two counts of false accounting between October 2008 and last September, allegedly gambling away the money on high risk illegal trades aimed at boosting his annual bonuses and job prospects.

The former public schoolboy, of Clark Street, Whitechapel, east London, worked for UBS's global synthetic equities division, buying and selling ETFs, which track different types of stocks, bonds or commodities such as metals.

The court has heard that at one point he was at risk of causing the bank losses of 12 billion US dollars (£7.4 billion). He claims he acted with the backing of his bosses at the bank.

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