£4bn 'rogue trader' trial concludes

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The Independent Online

The former Société Générale trader Jerome Kerviel was a pawn in a mind-boggling financial system that pushed him to take risks, his lawyer Olivier Metzner argued on the last day of his trial.

Casting Mr Kerviel as a humble "Breton boy" who was corrupted by SocGen, a bank that thrived on risk, Mr Metzner told the court the real mystery was not Mr Kerviel's risky bets but the wider financial system. "Who are you, Société Générale? Who are you? How do you create men like this?" Mr Metzner said, his voice rising in a crescendo in the Palais de Justice in Paris.

Mr Kerviel's defence team is calling for him to be acquitted of charges of breach of trust and forgery relating to a €4.9bn (£4bn) trading loss in 2008 that almost brought SocGen to its knees. He is pleading guilty to a third charge of computer abuse.

The public prosecutor is calling for a five-year prison sentence for all the charges. As well as a jail term, Mr Kerviel faces a fine of €375,000.

The 33-year-old admits building up unauthorised positions reaching €50bn that SocGen blames for losses. But he insists his bosses knew what he was doing and encouraged him to take risks.

The presiding judge Dominique Pauthe told the court yesterday as the two-and-a-half-week trial drew to a close that the verdict would be delivered on the morning of 5 October.