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Ex-UBS Trader Fires Lawyers in Unauthorized Trading Case

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Former UBS AG trader Kweku Adoboli dismissed the lawyers defending him over allegations he caused the Swiss bank $2.3 billion in losses from unauthorized trading and hired London law firm Bark & Co.

Adoboli, 31, is no longer using Kingsley Napley in London to advise him in the case, Melanie Riley, a spokeswoman for the firm, said today. Tim Harris of Bark & Co. is now representing him, a receptionist at the London law firm said.

Adoboli is scheduled to appear in court next week to enter a plea in the case. He was granted a four-week adjournment last month, when he was initially scheduled to enter a plea at a London criminal court.

His legal team said at the hearing last month they needed more time to gain “a better understanding of exactly what it was that preceded the calamitous losses.”

Adoboli has been in custody since Sept. 15 when UBS asked London police to arrest him on suspicion of causing the loss from unauthorized trading. He is being held at Wandsworth prison in southwest London.

The former trader, 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.

‘Sorry Beyond Words’

Adoboli has said through his lawyers he was “sorry beyond words” for “his disastrous miscalculations.”

The U.K.’s Financial Services Authority and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority are jointly investigating control failures at the bank that allowed the trades to go undetected. The joint regulatory probe will be conducted at the same time as investigations by police, prosecutors and an internal review by the Swiss bank.

Bark & Co. also represents Asil Nadir, the former chief executive officer of Polly Peck who returned to the U.K. last year to face fraud claims nearly two decades after fleeing the country. According to its website, the law firm specializes in criminal and civil fraud and civil litigation.

Kingsley Napley, his previous law firm, 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.

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