Kweku Adoboli, a former UBS AG (UBSN) trader, was given more time to enter a plea to charges he caused a $2.3 billion loss for his firm, the second delay he has received.
Adoboli, who changed lawyers and is receiving government assistance to pay for them, needs more time to get appropriate legal advice, one of his lawyers said at a hearing in London today. Adoboli would have pleaded not guilty if the court refused his delay request, his attorney Paul Garlick said.
The 31-year-old must enter a plea at the next hearing, scheduled for Jan. 30, Judge Alistair McCreath said. Adoboli was previously granted a monthlong delay in November and prosecutors said he shouldn’t receive another one today because the case is “straightforward.”
“You, and those who assist you, must understand the court will not accept any further applications” for delay, McCreath said, warning Adoboli that credit towards a reduced sentence for pleading guilty early was “evaporating even as we speak.”
Adoboli has been in custody since Sept. 15 when UBS asked London police to arrest him. The case has led to the departures of Chief Executive Officer Oswald Gruebel and the co-heads of the Swiss bank’s global equities business. UBS has also said it suspended some front office staff pending further disciplinary action.
“I’ve satisfied myself that Adoboli hasn’t received satisfactory legal advice,” Garlick said. Tim Harris, another of Adoboli’s lawyers, declined to comment after the hearing.
Robert Davies, a prosecutor, said so far in the case Adoboli had “always cooperated.”
Adoboli said in September he was “sorry beyond words” for “his disastrous miscalculations.”
UBS declined to comment today because the criminal case is continuing.
Adoboli dismissed the lawyers at Kingsley Napley who had been advising him since his arrest, a spokeswoman for the law firm said last week. He hired London-based Bark & Co. to replace them.
At the November hearing, his prior legal team said they needed more time to gain “a better understanding of exactly what it was that preceded the calamitous losses.”
Adoboli, who holds a Ghanaian passport, is charged with fraud and false accounting dating back to 2008. Prosecutors have said he falsified records on exchange-traded-fund transactions. UBS said the loss came from trading in Standard & Poor’s 500, DAX and EuroStoxx index futures. The trades’ risk was masked by fictitious positions, according to the bank.
The U.K.’s Financial Services Authority and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority are jointly investigating whether control failures at the bank allowed the trades to go undetected.
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