Rogue trader Kerviel fooled me, says ex-boss

Former Societe Generale trader Jerome Kerviel used convincing lies to mask his risky, unauthorised bets, an ex-boss has told a Paris court.

The 33-year-old Kerviel, whom SocGen blamed for a Ä4.9bn ($6.07bn) trading loss in 2008, made bets without bosses knowing, former supervisor Eric Cordelle added.

“Jerome was always able to come up with reasons, convincing explanations. He lied from start to finish and every time he said something, it was believable,” Cordelle told the court in the Palais de Justice.

Although Kerviel has never denied his unauthorised bets that reached an estimated Ä50bn, he has insisted his superiors knew what he was doing. SocGen has argued Keviel acted alone and egregiously and should be punished.

Kerviel risks five years in prison and a Ä375,000 fine if found guilty of charges of breach of trust, computer abuse and forgery.

Cordelle, who lost his job after the scandal broke in early 2008, was appointed head of the trading desk where Kerviel worked in 2007.

He admitted to the court he did not really understand the inner workings of the desk and therefore could not monitor it effectively.

“I didn’t have the resources or the knowledge to do it. I didn’t necessarily understand the trader lingo,” he said, adding that the workload was so heavy there was no time to stop over a single anomaly.

Cordelle is appealing against his dismissal by SocGen in an employment tribunal, he told the court, citing “a lack of resources and training” at the bank.


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