Thursday, January 24, 2008

Rogue Trader Damages French Bank

A French Nick Leeson?
French bank Societe Generale said Thursday it has uncovered a $7.14 billion fraud — one of history's biggest — by a single futures trader whose scheme of fictitious transactions was discovered as stock markets began to stumble in recent days.

CEO Daniel Bouton said the trader's motivations were "irrational," netting the trader no personal financial gains.

A person familiar with the case named the trader as Jerome Kerviel. Bank officials said earlier the trader was a Frenchman in his 30s who probably acted alone. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.
Internal control and compliance systems are usually integrated into most trading platforms these days, imposing limits on aggressive (or simply stupid) traders like Jerome Kerviel, just to avoid such multi-billion dollar “mistakes.” Obviously the controls that were in place at Societe Generale were wholly inadequate.

All I can say is: c’est la vie.

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