Defense says SocGen trader scapegoat

Christian Charriere-Bournazel, defense lawyer for Societe General rogue trader Jerome Kerviel


Doug Krizner: Last week, we told you about that rogue trader losing $7 billion at Societe General in Paris. His name is Jerome Kerviel, and this morning, French prosecutors say he could face charges of forgery, breach of trust, and fraud. Stephen Beard has more.

Stephen Beard: Jerome Kerviel's lawyers insist he's not guilty of fraud, that he was just doing his job -- although he admits hiding some of his activities.

His lawyers claim that the bank had tried to use him as a scapegoat to distract attention from its huge losses on U.S. subprime mortgages. But that manoeuvre had backfired.

Martin Arnold of the Financial Times:

Martin Arnold: His lawyers came out and said any loss that resulted from this was the fault of the bank for selling his position in a hasty way in a falling market. If the bank had held on to his position, they would have ultimately not lost any money, is his claim.

But Societe General says the trader had bet $73 billion of the bank's money on unauthorized investments, and had covered his tracks by using other people's computer access codes.

Kerviel told prosecutors today that he wasn't seeking personal profit. He just wanted to be an exceptional trader.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.


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