Prison, 4.9 billion euro fine for French rogue trader

Paris appeals court ordered former Societe Generale trader Jerome Kerviel to pay back 4.9 billion euro for one of the biggest trading frauds in history.

Updated: Oct 24, 2012, 22:17 PM IST

Paris: The Paris appeals court Wednesday ordered former Societe Generale trader Jerome Kerviel to spend three years in prison and pay back a staggering 4.9 billion euro in damages for one of the biggest trading frauds in history.

The 35-year-old Kerviel says he was a scapegoat for the bank and a victim of a financial system that runs on greed and profits. His lawyer David Koubbi called the verdict "absolutely lamentable" and said his team will consider taking the case to France`s highest court.

A lower court convicted Kerviel in October 2010 of forgery, breach of trust and unauthorised computer use for covering up bets worth nearly 50 billion euro in 2007 and 2008. By the time his trades were discovered and made public, he had amassed losses of almost 5 billion euro on those bets.

The sentence a five-year prison term, with two years suspended, plus the payback of all the losses he incurred shocked many in the French public. After a global financial crisis that many blamed on big banks, many believed Kerviel`s claim that he was a victim of an unjust system.

The appeals court today upheld the full conviction and sentence.

Kerviel, who arrived at the courthouse in a dark suit and looking tense, had sought an acquittal, saying the bank had turned a blind eye to his exorbitant trades as long as they made money. Prosecutors and the bank say that isn`t true.

Societe Generale lawyer Jean Veil said the verdict was "a satisfaction." He suggested the bank wouldn`t make Kerviel pay back the full multi-billion-euro sum, and would take into account his income and assets.

But he insisted, "it would have been indecent that Kerviel could have preserved revenues" resulting from the fraud, such as book or movie royalties or other income.