Rogue trader Kerviel freed

Trader blamed by Société Générale for its record €4.9bn trading loss was released today pending further investigation

Jérôme Kerviel, the trader accused by his bank, Société Générale, of being responsible for its record €4.9bn (£3.7bn) trading loss, was released from prison today pending further investigation.

The trader still faces accusations of breach of trust, illegally hacking into the bank's computers, and falsifying documents.

Kerviel will be placed under "judicial control", which means he must give up his passport, report to police once a week and have no contact with other protagonists in the SocGen affair. He is also banned from going near trading floors.

"We were waiting for this, we were hoping for it, there was no justification for his continued detention, and the court listened and understood that," the trader's lawyer, Elisabeth Meyer, told reporters. She claims he acted with no accomplices inside or outside the bank. Kerviel had been in custody since February 8.

Last week, prosecutors requested Kerviel's continued detention to prevent him from fleeing, interfering with evidence or contacting possible accomplices. SocGen's lawyer, Jean Veil, said today he was satisfied with the conditions surrounding the trader's release. "Société Générale is a victim, I don't think the victims are there to cry vengeance, but to obtain reparation for the damage suffered," he said.

Kerviel was initially freed in January by the investigating magistrates, Renaud Van Ruymbeke and Françoise Desset, but after an appeal from prosecutors, that decision was overturned and the trader was sent back to prison.

Last Wednesday, Manuel Zabraniecki, a colleague of Kerviel, was detained for questioning and released the same day without charge.

Kerviel claims his bosses knew about his activities but turned a blind eye as long as he remained profitable. The investigators have been focusing on his managers' response to the positions taken by the trader on futures contracts, which went well above the authorised limit of €125m.

Earlier this month, Eric Cordelle, his manager on the Delta One desk, told the judges while being questioned in Kerviel's presence that he had noticed nothing untoward in the trader's startling results for 2007: a gain of €55m.

According to Le Monde, which said it had seen a transcript of the interview, the manager said it was common for one member of the team to be responsible for half of the total earnings. "I asked Jérôme 50 times about it," he is quoted as saying, "and each time his replies convinced me." Kerviel reportedly told investigators his replies were "evasive".

Throughout last year it is claimed the desk received several warnings that trading was taking place well above the permitted limits. In November the bank received a letter from the European derivatives exchange, Eurex, questioning various transactions the previous month with a combined value of more than €1bn. Le Monde quoted Cordelle as saying he had noticed nothing suspicious: "I receive 200 or 300 emails a day... it didn't seem abnormal that the volumes had risen." The manager admitted that, had he seen the detail of the figures quoted by Eurex, he would have "hit the roof".

Last month an internal investigation concluded that the bank's controls were not thorough enough, and staff had failed to make checks that could have uncovered the rogue trades.


Alasdair Sandford in Paris

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Rogue trader Kerviel gets new job

The man accused of losing Société Générale €4.9bn is working as a computer expert

Angelique Chrisafis in Paris and agencies

25, Apr, 2008 @12:31 PM

Article image
French rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel freed

Former trader who lost Sociéte Générale £4.9bn released by appeal court after serving 110 days of five-year prison sentence

Kim Willsher in Paris

04, Sep, 2014 @3:43 PM

Rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel loses Société Générale appeal – video

Société Générale rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel gives his reaction to losing an appeal in a French court against a 2010 conviction

25, Oct, 2012 @1:43 PM

Article image
Former trader Jérôme Kerviel wins unfair dismissal case
French tribunal agrees that bank had full knowledge of rogue trader’s dealings before he was fired in 2008

Angelique Chrisafis in Paris

07, Jun, 2016 @5:43 PM

Article image
Rogue trader: 'I won't be a scapegoat'

Jérôme Kerviel, the man at the centre of the row over Société Générale's multibillion euro losses, said today that he will not be scapegoated by his employer over the affair

Graeme Wearden

05, Feb, 2008 @5:17 PM

French rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel sentenced to jail and €4.9bn fine
•Gasps in court as ex-banker's sentence announced
•33-year-old's 'gigantic risk' endangered 140,000 jobs

Lizzy Davies in Paris

05, Oct, 2010 @6:28 PM

SocGen sacks two Kerviel supervisors

Two immediate supervisors of the Société Générale trader accused of the biggest fraud in financial history are being sacked by the French bank

David Gow in Brussels

23, May, 2008 @6:23 PM

Article image
Jérôme Kerviel faces first day of trial over lost billions

Media scrum surrounds French trader whose speculation led to €4.9bn Société Générale loss in 2008

Lizzy Davies in Paris

08, Jun, 2010 @10:28 PM

Article image
Jérôme Kerviel not a fraudster but a 'creation' of Société Générale, court told
A Paris court will rule on charges against former Société Générale trader Jérôme Kerviel on 5 October

Kim Willsher in Paris

25, Jun, 2010 @3:56 PM

Article image
Société Générale uncovers £3.7bn fraud by rogue trader

Man responsible for biggest fraud in financial history named online as 31-year-old Jerome Kerviel

Fiona Walsh and David Gow

24, Jan, 2008 @4:27 PM