The disgraced investment banker Jérôme Kerviel spoke for the first time last night about his tough sentencing in history's biggest rogue trading scandal, insisting was he had been made a scapegoat for his former employer and comparing the penalty to being "hit on the head with a club".
The 33-year-old Frenchman was sentenced to three years in prison on Tuesday and ordered to pay Société Générale damages of ¤4.9bn (£4.3bn) – the cost of 20 Airbus A380 superjumbo jets. "I'm starting to digest it, but I'm nonetheless crushed by the weight of the sanction and the weight of responsibility the ruling places on me," he told Europe-1 radio.
Some observers began calling for Société Générale to waive Kerviel's debt. "There's no question of asking one man to pay such a sum," said Caroline Guillaumin, a spokeswoman for the bank, adding that SocGen was "open to a solution in the interests of shareholders and employees that takes into account Kerviel's situation".
Kerviel is appealing against the ruling and hopes to prove he "wasn't the only one in the boat".