Kerviel Loses Appeal Over 4.9 Billion-Euro SocGen Trading Loss

Jerome Kerviel lost his bid to reverse a 2010 guilty verdict finding him solely responsible for Societe Generale SA (GLE)’s 4.9 billion-euro ($6.34 billion) trading loss.

Judge Mireille Filippini today upheld a 2010 verdict finding Kerviel guilty of abusing the bank’s trust, faking documents and entering false data into the computers. Kerviel argued that the bank knew he was exceeding his mandate and was using him as a scapegoat for its subprime mortgage market losses.

The 2008 trading loss was one of the biggest in history, wiping out almost two years of pretax profit at Societe Generale’s investment-banking unit. Kerviel, 35, was called a “terrorist” by then-Chief Executive Officer Daniel Bouton, a comment he refused to apologize for during the June appeals hearings.

Kerviel changed defense teams and pursued an aggressive strategy on appeal, filing criminal complaints against the bank in the weeks before the hearings began. During the appeal, his lawyers argued that the bank allowed him to make unauthorized trades to mask the danger it faced from the U.S. subprime mortgage market.

Societe Generale retaliated with defamation claims and Filippini openly fought with Kerviel’s lawyer, David Koubbi, threatening at one point to refer him to the bar association over his treatment of witnesses.

“We strongly defended Jerome Kerviel and despite the new elements that we brought forward, nothing changed their mind,” Koubbi said after the ruling today. “We will continue to defend him against what has been a great injustice.”

The prosecution rejected Kerviel’s arguments and asked Filippini to increase his sentence to the maximum five years, from the three years he received in 2010.

To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Smith in Paris at hsmith26@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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