Trader who lost £1.4bn 'told to push boundaries'


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The Independent Online

An alleged rogue trader accused of gambling away £1.4bn was urged to "push the boundaries" by his bosses, a jury heard yesterday.

Kweku Adoboli, 32, is accused of committing Britain's biggest ever fraud while working for Swiss bank UBS during the global financial crisis. He denies two counts of fraud and four counts of false accounting between October 2008 and last September after he set up an "umbrella" fund for off-book trades.

Jurors at Southwark Crown Court heard the fund was doing well until he changed from a conservative "bearish" position to an aggressive "bullish" stance under pressure from senior managers.

Yassine Bouhara, former co-head of equities at UBS, allegedly told Mr Adoboli in an email: "You don't know what your limits are until you push the boundary so far that you receive a slap on the back of the wrist."

Answering questions by his defence barrister Paul Garlick QC, Ghanaian-born Adoboli said: "There were no secrets, there was no hiding, there was no holding back. We were told to go for it, we went for it. We were told to push the boundaries, so we pushed the boundaries."

The former public schoolboy, from Whitechapel, east London, worked for UBS's global synthetic equities division, buying and selling exchange-traded funds, which track different types of stocks, bonds or commodities such as metals.

The trial continues.