Ex-UBS Trader to Be Free on Bail While Awaiting Trial

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Former UBS AG Trader Kweku Adoboli
Former UBS AG trader Kweku Adoboli can leave Wandsworth prison in southwest London, where he has been in custody since around the time of his arrest on Sept. 15, a judge ruled at a hearing today. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Kweku Adoboli, the former UBS AG trader who allegedly caused a $2.3 billion loss from unauthorized trading, will be freed on bail while he awaits trial in London, his lawyer said following a court hearing.

Adoboli, 32, can leave Wandsworth prison in southwest London, where he has been in custody since around the time of his arrest on Sept. 15, attorney Tim Harris said following the hearing. His previous bail request in February was denied.

While Harris declined to provide details on the bail amount, he said Adoboli will wear an electronic monitoring device, have a curfew and will have to reside at a friend’s home in London. A trial for Adoboli is scheduled for early September. He has pleaded not guilty to fraud and false accounting for allegedly causing the loss, the largest from unauthorized trading in British history.

Harris said his client was “delighted, hugely grateful to the judge and his friends and family for supporting him.” It “was a very emotional scene,” he added.

Adoboli may leave prison as early as Monday, depending on when the bail conditions are met, Harris said.

Jenna Ward, a UBS spokeswoman, declined to comment.

Delta One Desk

Adoboli worked for the investment bank’s Delta One desk, which handles trades for clients -- or risks the bank’s own money -- typically by speculating on, or hedging the performance of, a basket of securities. Adoboli, wearing a grey suit and purple tie, was supported at the hearing by about 10 of his friends and family, some of whom offered sureties for his bail application, which was heard in private.

Ten people have left UBS in relation to the case, according to the bank. In April, lawyers for Adoboli said they would seek documents from Swiss bank to use in his defense, including details from disciplinary hearings with his co-workers and e-mails he sent and received.

At today’s hearing, Judge Brian Keith approved an order requiring UBS and City of London Police to provide evidence to Adoboli’s lawyers and prosecutors. That information will include results from searches of Adoboli’s computer and mobile phones, records of personal trading done through London-based spread-betting firm IG Index Plc, and details of disciplinary hearings with three of his former co-workers on the Delta One desk.

The U.K. Financial Services Authority and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, known as Finma, are investigating the risk controls at UBS’s investment bank that didn’t prevent the unauthorized trades. The regulators said in a joint statement in February that they were formalizing their enforcement action of the incident.

The move to a formal enforcement proceeding typically indicates the regulators have found sufficient evidence of financial rule violations. UBS has said it is cooperating.

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