Trader who lost €4.9 bn walks free after 100 days in jail

  • Noopur Tiwari, Hindustan Times, Paris
  • Updated: Sep 05, 2014 23:23 IST

The rogue trader who worked for France’s Societe Generale and shocked the world with the biggest trading fraud in history is set to walk free on Monday — with an electronic tag on his ankle to track him. His lawyer said he would now lead a normal life.

Jerome Kerviel also has an unlikely halo: he enjoys widespread sympathy as a poor boy who was scapegoated by an exploitative banking system.

Société Générale disowned him even though Bank of France Governor Christian Noyer called him a “computer genius.”

Kerviel, who fought a three-year battle in which he implicated SG as blessing his deals, even met the Pope, giving a boost to his image of a common man fighting against greed. He served just 100-odd days in jail for betting 50 billion euros (Rs 390,000 crore at current rates), causing a 4.9 billion-euro loss.

He was asked by courts to return this sum to the bank but the fine was later rolled back.

He said he was dismissed unfairly – and sought exactly the loss amount in damages.

“I am an ordinary person. I’m not crazy,” Kerviel said during the investigation. “I didn’t earn millions and I didn’t drive a Porsche.”
Kerviel’s anti-hero story inspired a graphic novel – and a soon-to-be released movie.

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