Société Générale rogue trader Jerome Kerviel to stand trial next year

• Jerome Kerviel accused of causing record €4.9bn losses for French bank
• Trader faces up to five years in prison and €375,000 in fines if convicted

Former Société Générale trader Jerome Kerviel is to stand trial next year over claims that he cost the bank billions of euros through a series of allegedly rogue transactions.

The bank welcomed the news and has claimed that the junior trader's unauthorised deals caused the record losses of €4.9bn (£4.31bn), which it unveiled last year.

Investigating judges Renaud Van Ruymbeke and Françoise Desset sent the case to a Paris court yesterday, a judicial official said. The trial is expected to start early next year.

Since the losses came to light Kerviel has argued SocGen knew what he was doing, while the bank insists he acted alone.

Jean Veil, lawyer for SocGen, welcomed the decision. Although he had not yet seen the judges' order, he said it appeared that "Société Générale's thesis was confirmed". One of Kerviel's lawyers, Francis Tissot, called the move "regrettable".

The judges threw out a request from prosecutors to send Kerviel's assistant, Thomas Mougard, to trial as well. He was accused of "complicity in introducing fraudulent data in a computer system". Mougard has denied the accusations, arguing he was not aware of the illicit nature of the transactions he was asked to carry out.

Kerviel is charged with forgery, breach of trust and unauthorised computer use, and faces up to five years in prison and €375,000 in fines if convicted. He has admitted building up non-authorised trading positions but has argued his supervisors turned a blind eye while he was making money for the bank, and intervened only when he started to suffer losses.

In January this year, French investigators wrapped up their 12-month probe into €50bn of unauthorised trading positions built up by Kerviel.

At the start of the investigation last year, Kerviel spent six weeks in jail and was then released under judicial supervision. In June, the Paris prosecutor's office requested that Kerviel stand trial, and judges finalised the decision with a formal order yesterday.

The independent investigations and the bank's own internal inquiries into the scandal have found that its managers and control systems failed to operate properly and ignored warnings. A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers blamed the "culture" at the trading desk, describing it as "overheated".

France's central bank has fined SocGen €4m for "serious shortcomings" in its internal controls that led to the trading losses. Kerviel's legal team is trying to go further and prove that the bank knew what was actually happening.

Employed at the bank since 2000, Kerviel worked his way up from a desk that monitors traders to a job on the futures desk, where he invested the bank's money by making huge bets on the future direction of European stock exchange prices.

He is accused of causing five times the financial damage inflicted by Nick Leeson, the rogue trader who sparked the collapse of Barings Bank in 1995 with losses of £800m.


Julia Kollewe

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

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

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
'Rogue trader' Jérôme Kerviel's trial begins in Paris
The French trader is accused of losing Société Générale £4bn but claims the bank supported him in taking risks

Kim Willsher in Paris

07, Jun, 2010 @3:23 PM

Article image
Jérôme Kerviel: 'I had to be killed so Société Générale could survive'
Rogue trader speaks out against court verdict, saying he was being made to pay for the malpractice of several people

Lizzy Davies in Paris

06, Oct, 2010 @2:32 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
Rogue trader Kerviel freed

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

Alasdair Sandford in Paris

18, Mar, 2008 @5:25 PM

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

Article image
French rogue trader loses appeal against conviction and €4.9bn fine
Jérôme Kerviel maintained Société Générale knew of gambles but turned a blind eye as bank says it is realistic over payback

Angelique Chrisafis in Paris

24, Oct, 2012 @1:24 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