A new civil case against Jerome Kerviel for damages begins at a court in Versailles, although sessions could still be postponed in view of the bid for a retrial of the criminal case.
New civil case for rogue trader Jerome Kerviel
France-trial-banking-fraud-Kerviel,update-WRAP Rogue trader Kerviel launches retrial bid in fraud case by AurÃ©lia END =(PICTURE+VIDEO)= PARIS, Jan 18, 2016 (AFP) – Convicted rogue trader Jerome Kerviel appeared in a Paris court Monday seeking a retrial over his fraud conviction stemming from risky bets that nearly brought down Societe Generale, one of Europe’s biggest banks. Kerviel, who insists his employers were aware of his actions, told a horde of cameramen outside the courtroom that his case had been “rigged” and he was “ashamed of the (French) justice system”. The hearing before the review court’s investigating committee is the first step towards a possible retrial in the sensational case over Kerviel gambling away 4.9 billion euros ($5.5 billion) through unauthorised trades in 2008. The committee will announce its decision on March 21, one of its members said. Branded a crook by his ex-employer and a scapegoat by his defenders, Kerviel says his bosses turned a blind eye to his malfeasance as long as the profits kept rolling in. Kerviel, now 39, was convicted in 2010 of breach of trust, forgery and entering false data, and sentenced to three years in jail, a verdict that was upheld on appeal. He was also ordered to repay to Societe Generale the 4.9 billion euros he lost — although an appeals court overturned the order, arguing that the bank’s internal oversight mechanisms had failed. Kerviel left prison in September 2014 after spending less than five months behind bars, winning conditional release that initially required him to wear an electronic bracelet and stay home on weekday evenings. In seeking a retrial, he points to the top detective in the case, Nathalie Le Roy, who testified behind closed doors in April 2015 that she felt Societe General had “manipulated” her while she was investigating the case in 2008. According to a hearing transcript seen by AFP, Le Roy told the court: “I had the feeling, then the certainty that Jerome Kerviel’s superiors could not have been unaware” that he was taking wildly risky bets on equity derivatives. – ‘It’s obvious, obvious’ – ————————— On Sunday, explosive new support emerged for Kerviel in the form of remarks secretly recorded by Le Roy in which a former prosecutor said it was “obvious, obvious” that Societe Generale was aware of his shady dealings. Chantal de Leiris, a former Paris deputy prosecutor, said in the June 2015 conversation: “When the subject comes up, anyone even a little bit involved in finance laughs, knowing very well that Societe Generale knew… it’s obvious, obvious.” The detective told the free daily newspaper 20 Minutes that she handed the audio recording over to Kerviel’s lawyer. Societe Generale hit back Monday, rejecting what it called “pseudo-revelations” and a “new media manipulation” in the case. The bank’s lawyer Jean Veil dismissed as “nonsense” the idea that the bank knew of the rogue trading. It is “implausible that those directly above Jerome Kerviel or the people who worked with him every day knew but didn’t say anything,” Veil told AFP. He said Kerviel’s colleagues would have no interest in covering up his risky manoeuvres for fear of jeopardising their bonuses, which depend on the performance of the team. A civil case against Kerviel for damages is still under way, and a court in Versailles has set hearings for Wednesday to Friday this week. The sessions may be postponed in view of the bid for a retrial of the criminal case. Societe Generale is also pursuing Kerviel for defamation. Kerviel’s attack on Societe Generale could have huge financial repercussions for the banking giant. The French state awarded the bank 2.197 billion euros in 2009 and 2010 under a tax regime that compensates victims of fraud if they are running a deficit. The bank risks having to repay the sum if it is found liable for Kerviel’s crimes. aue-arb/gd/jm