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Former UBS Trader Adoboli Renews Bid to Appeal Conviction

Former UBS AG Trader Kweku Adoboli
Former UBS AG trader Kweku Adoboli was convicted in November 2012 of two counts of fraud for causing the loss at the bank’s London unit. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

June 4 (Bloomberg) -- Kweku Adoboli, the former UBS AG trader who caused a $2.3 billion loss through unauthorized trading, is trying again to get permission to overturn his conviction and seven-year sentence.

Lawyers for Adoboli are scheduled to ask an appeals court in London today to grant him the chance to argue that the conviction should be thrown out. His initial claim was already rejected by a judge in July 2013, without a hearing taking place.

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, declined to comment on the hearing. His firm, Bark & Co., tweeted that the application would be heard today.

The 10-member jury 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.

Failings

“Your fall from grace as a result of these convictions is spectacular,” Judge Brian Keith told Adoboli when he sentenced him Nov. 20, 2012. “You are profoundly un-selfconscious of your own failings. You were arrogant enough to think that the bank’s rules for traders didn’t apply to you.”

At least 11 employees left the bank in the wake of the trading loss, either through firings or resignations. That included former Chief Executive Officer Oswald Gruebel and the co-heads of global equities, Yassine Bouhara and Francois Gouws. Adoboli’s co-workers on the ETF desk -- John Hughes, Simon Taylor and Christophe Bertrand -- all also left the bank, as did his former managers, Ron Greenidge and John DiBacco.

Hughes was banned from working in the U.K. finance industry over his involvement in the loss May 1, by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Hughes “allowed the desk’s profit and loss to be misstated over an extended period,” Tracey McDermott, the FCA’s head of enforcement, said in the statement at the time.

Richard Morton, a spokesman for UBS, declined to comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy Hodges in London at jhodges17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net Lindsay Fortado, Peter Chapman

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