Kerviel Runs Out of Options to Blame SocGen After Bid Rejected

  • French investigators dismiss Kerviel request for extra probes
  • Kerviel alleged bank forged documents and bribed a witness

Jerome Kerviel, former trader for Societe Generale SA, arrives outside Versailles courthouse in Versailles, France, on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016. Photographer: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg

Jerome Kerviel lost an attempt to blame Societe Generale SA for a massive trading loss that he was found guilty of causing at the bank as French investigators dismissed his demands for further probes, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Investigative judges dismissed allegations by Kerviel that Societe Generale supplied forged documents to help obtain his guilty verdict under false pretenses, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the probe is private. His request that authorities look into allegations that the bank bribed a witness were also dismissed, the person said.

Jerome Kerviel

Photographer: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg

The former trader -- seen as a folk hero by some -- has been trying for almost a decade to shift blame for a 4.9 billion-euro ($5.8 billion) loss he caused onto France’s third-largest bank. Kerviel had some success in court last year as the Paris employment tribunal awarded him about $500,000 in compensation for unfair dismissal after berating Societe Generale for its role in the affair.

Later that year, French judges said that Kerviel should pay Societe Generale 1 million euros, a fraction of the initial trading loss he caused nine years ago. The Versailles court of appeals said Societe Generale’s “multiple faults” mean the bank “had a major and decisive role” in allowing the incident, one of the most famous cases of rogue trading in history.

The ruling has put in jeopardy a 2.2 billion-euro tax credit Societe Generale received in 2008 because of the record trading loss.

Kerviel’s lawyer, David Koubbi, and Societe Generale didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Agence France-Presse reported dismissal of Kerviel’s bids earlier on Friday.

Kerviel served five months of his three-year prison sentence for abusing Societe Generale’s trust. He’s attempted to cast himself as a victim, maintaining that his superiors looked the other way so long as he was making money.

Kerviel had amassed 50 billion euros in positions in European stock futures using fake hedges and false documents. The French bank unwound the positions during three days in January 2008 after finding the unauthorized trades. Kerviel’s lawyers have asked for a new independent estimate of the loss.

— With assistance by Fabio Benedetti Valentini

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