“Rogue Trader” goes to Trial in Paris

The trial of French ‘rogue trader’ Jerome Kerviel opens in Paris today – in what promises to be a dramatic and much-followed event.

Mr Kerviel, who is young at 33 for this kind of trial, is accused of rogue trading during his time at French big bank Societe Generale.  Apparently he made losses of nearly €5 billion for the bank – yet has a case which stands a chance, thanks to the symbolic nature of the story.

The accused claims that his actions as a financial trader were – and are – exactly the same as those of many traders and big banks around the world.  The story has become a cult hit, with a fan club for Mr Kerviel.  He is seen as a warrior in the fight against big banks and capitalism, because it is asserted that banks know about such behaviour as long as it is drawing in huge profits.  As soon as losses were made, Mr Kerviel claims he was turned in.

Whether the accused is just an addicted gambler caught out or whether there really is an argument to say that what he did was the same as large chunks of the banking industry remains to be seen in the coming weeks!

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