Jérôme Kerviel, France’s most notorious rogue trader, is to be released from prison next week, although he will be forced to suffer the indignity of serving the rest of his three- year prison sentence wearing an electronic tag.
The Paris appeals court has authorised the controlled release of the Frenchman on Monday – just 110 days after he was taken into custody at Fleury-Mérogis prison, south of Paris.
The 37-year-old ex-trader will have freedom of movement at weekends and during the day on weekdays.
Kerviel lost €4.9bn (£3.9bn) for Société Générale in 2008 on unauthorised trading positions. He always admitted the activities but claimed that the bank and his bosses had turned a blind eye to his activities until his trades turned sour.
He was convicted of breach of trust and forgery in 2010 and sentenced to five years in prison, two of them suspended. He had delayed being taken into custody by launching two appeals, which both failed, and even resorting to walking hundreds of miles through Italy back to France in a “march against the markets”.
While in Rome he met Pope Francis, although the Vatican later seemed to suggest that the encounter was simply a lapse in security rather than a show of support.
His conviction was upheld in March this year and he surrendered himself to the French authorities at the Italian border in May to begin his three-year prison sentence.
His release on Monday also comes with other restrictions, on top of his electronic tag. Under the terms of the tagging order, Kerviel will have to remain at home on weekday nights between the hours of 10pm and 7am, according to his lawyer David Koubbi, who said: “Jérôme Kerviel can be admitted to the process of adjustment to his sentence. He’ll leave Fleury-Mérogis this Monday and he’ll carry on with a completely normal life.”
Kerviel has been viewed by supporters as a working man’s hero and victim of high finance. Three-quarters of French respondents viewed him as a victim in a 2008 poll, while his story has been championed by a fan club set up to support him, as well as a comic book and a film. But in an earlier statement, a Société Générale spokesman criticised the media hype around Kerviel, stressing he had been subject to a meticulous investigation, judged three times and found guilty each time.