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Former UBS Trader Adoboli Renews Bid to Appeal Conviction

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Kweku Adoboli, the former UBS AG trader who caused a $2.3 billion loss through unauthorized trading, failed in a bid to overturn his conviction and seven-year sentence.

Adoboli sought permission to appeal his conviction and the length of his sentence on the grounds that the judge had treated him unfairly, media reporting had prejudiced the case and that an e-mail he sent had wrongly been treated as a confession. He also alleged that UBS had been too active in co-operating with the prosecution, Judge Brian Leveson said.

The case against him “was, in truth, overwhelming,” said Leveson, who previously presided over the U.K. media standards inquiry triggered by the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal. “He was tried, fair and square.”

Adoboli was convicted in November 2012 of two counts of fraud for causing the loss at the bank’s London unit. He argued at trial that managers at Zurich-based UBS pushed him to take too many risks and that rule-breaking at the bank was rampant.

While he admitted causing the loss, he said it wasn’t done dishonestly. Adoboli was ordered to serve at least half of his sentence.

A lawyer for Adoboli, Paul Lennon, couldn’t be reached to comment after the hearing.

Two Counts

The 10-member jury in 2012 unanimously found Adoboli guilty of one count of fraud during the period in which the loss was caused. He was convicted 9-1 on the second fraud charge, which dated back to 2008, and acquitted of false accounting.

Adoboli, who worked for UBS since leaving college, was accused of hiding the risk of his trades by booking fake hedges and storing profits in a secret account to cover the costs of running the bank’s exchange-traded-funds desk.

Richard Morton, a spokesman for UBS, declined to comment before the hearing.

Judge Leveson dismissed as “ludicrous” the claim by Adoboli’s lawyers that the sentencing judge had been unfair to describe his trading positions as “massive.”

“The judge is to be applauded, not criticized,” Leveson said.

He also rejected the argument that a U.K. financial regulator’s May 1 decision to ban Adoboli’s trading colleague, John Hughes, from working in the financial industry, undermined its case against him.

Adoboli’s legal team were in court, but submitted written arguments and didn’t address judges during the hearing. It’s the second time an attempt to appeal his conviction has been rejected by a U.K. court.

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