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UBS Trader Kweku Adoboli Hires Firm That Advised Nick Leeson

Updated on
Kweku Adoboli
Kweku Adoboli, the UBS trader, center, enters a prison van following his appearance at the City of London magistrates court on Sept. 16, 2011. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Kweku Adoboli, the trader arrested yesterday on suspicion of fraud at UBS AG, hired lawyers at Kingsley Napley LLP in London to represent him, a spokeswoman for the law firm said today in a phone interview.

Adoboli, 31, worked on the bank’s Delta One desk and was arrested by London police yesterday after the Swiss bank said that unauthorized trades caused a $2 billion loss. He’s being held at a City of London police station pending an investigation into allegations of fraud and abuse of position.

The firm has previously advised Nick Leeson, who caused the collapse of Barings Plc with $1.4 billion in losses in 1995. Leeson, a former derivatives trader, caused the demise of Britain’s oldest merchant bank after losses on the futures and options markets in Singapore and Osaka, Japan, were uncovered.

Kingsley Napley, founded in 1937, is also advising Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive officer of News Corp.’s News International unit, in the phone-hacking scandal, and Vincent Tchenguiz, the real estate investor arrested by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office in March as part of an investigation into the collapse of the Icelandic bank Kaupthing Bank hf.

Kingsley Napley spokeswoman Louise Beeson said she couldn’t comment on the specifics of Adoboli’s case. Police have 36 hours from the time of his arrest yesterday to charge Adoboli or release him.

Adoboli admitted to causing the losses while the bank’s risk-control officers were examining his trades, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Adoboli’s Job

Adoboli worked for a unit of UBS’s investment bank that handles trades for clients, typically helping them to speculate on or hedge the performance of a basket of securities. It also takes risks with the bank’s own money in arranging trades.

Leeson was sentenced to prison about 10 months after his crime was uncovered. He was freed from a Singapore jail after serving two-thirds of his six-and-a-half year sentence for fraud and forgery.

Brooks was arrested in July over allegations that reporters at the now-defunct News of the World tabloid hacked into the voicemail of celebrities, politicians and murder victims while she was editor of the paper. Neither Brooks or Tchenguiz have been charged with a crime.

The firm also advised the deceased General Augusto Pinochet, the former dictator of Chile.

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