Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Rogue trader reveals sentence shock

Jerome Kerviel compared his three-year jail sentence to getting 'hit on the head with a club'
Jerome Kerviel compared his three-year jail sentence to getting 'hit on the head with a club'

Rogue French ex-trader Jerome Kerviel has insisted he was a scapegoat for his former bank and compared his three-year jail sentence to getting "hit on the head with a club".

The 33-year-old was convicted on Tuesday and ordered to pay his former employer damages of 4.9 billion euro (£4.2 billion).

"I'm starting to digest it, but I'm nonetheless crushed by the weight of the sanction and the weight of responsibility the ruling places on me," Kerviel told Europe-1 radio.

Kerviel said in court that the bank and his bosses tolerated his massive risk-taking as long as it made money - a claim the bank strongly denied, saying he took great pains to cover up his actions.

"I have the feeling they wanted to make me pay for everybody and that Societe Generale had to be saved," he said.

Of the verdict, he said: "It's difficult, obviously, when you get hit on the head with a club that way."

Kerviel is appealing against the conviction and says he hopes in the new trial "to prove once and for all that I wasn't the only one in the boat."

The bank says Kerviel made bets of up to 50bn euros (£43 billion) - more than the bank's total market value - on futures contracts on three European equity indices, and that he masked the size of his bets by recording fictitious offsetting transactions.

The 4.9bn euros (£4.2 billion) figure is the sum the bank says it lost unwinding Kerviel's complex positions in January 2008. It is a sum nobody realistically expects him to repay.

Kerviel said he is currently making about 900 euros (£770) a month working part-time as a computer consultant - he reduced his hours to concentrate on the trial.

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