Kerviel and the Société Générale trading case: some thoughts about governance, risk, compliance … and the banking world


6 October 2010 –Former Société Générale trader Jérome Kerviel was found guilty of breach of trust, computer abuse and forgery by a Paris court on Tuesday for his role in a trading scandal that cost the bank close to €5bn ($7bn).

Kerviel was sentenced to five years in prison, including two years suspended, for his role in the trading scandal. A Paris court also ordered 33-year-old Kerviel to reimburse the French bank €4.9bn lost in unauthorized trades which brought SocGen to the brink of collapse in 2008. All this for a man who didn’t make a penny. What is Bernie Madoff thinking?

Kerviel’s lawyer said he would appeal against the “unreasonable” judgment which he described as “totally excessive”. Kerviel remains at liberty pending the appeal (which may take 18 months to get back into court). He was banned from participating in any trading activity.

The judges said that Kerviel had not been given even tacit authorization from his bosses to speculate excessively and that SocGen’s own shortcomings did not exonerate him from his duties as a professional trader.

The judges also said Kerviel knew exactly what he was doing in overstepping his remit as a trader and that he sought to hide his trading positions. “Kerviel knowingly went beyond his remit as a trader,” presiding judge Dominique Pauthe told the court.

The case had a multitude of e-discovery and compliance issues.

Please see full article below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Gregory P. Bufithis, Esq., Project Counsel SCS | Attorney Advertising

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