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Tearful trader tells of losses

An alleged rogue trader accused of Britain's biggest fraud wept as he told a jury he was trying to cover millions of pounds' worth of losses incurred at the bank he called his "family".

Kweku Adoboli, 32, of Whitechapel, east London, is accused of gambling away £1.4 billion while working for Swiss bank UBS during the global financial crisis.

At one point he was at risk of causing the bank losses of 12 billion US dollars (£7.5 billion), jurors at Southwark Crown Court were told.

Adoboli broke down in tears as he gave evidence for the first time in his trial, in which he claimed his off-book trades were to cover 40 million US dollars (£24.9 million) of annual losses of his portfolio of companies from 2008.

The court heard that by 2007 Adoboli, aged 27, and a more senior trader, John Hughes, 25, were in charge of a portfolio of companies with assets of 50 billion US dollars (£31.1 billion). "Our book was massive. A tiny mistake led to huge losses. We were these two kids trying to make it work," he said.

Adoboli, wearing a dark suit and red tie, denied he was a "gambler" and said his knowledge of UBS's systems did not result in "fraudulent behaviour".

Fighting back tears, he said: "It's hard to find the words to describe the relationship I had with UBS as an organisation. It isn't about a bank. It was about what I thought was my family, considering how much (I) neglected my real friends and family.

"Every single bit of effort I put into that organisation was for the benefit of the bank, the people around me and the book I worked on. If I was not so proud to work for UBS, I would never put so much effort trying to convince them that we could achieve something at this bank."

He added: "To find yourself in Wandsworth Prison for nine months because all you did was work so hard for this bank ...", before stopping as he broke down in tears.

Adoboli is facing two counts of fraud and four 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. He denies the charges.

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