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Posted by on Oct 6, 2010 in Economy, TG Roundup

There is No Honor Among These Thieves

His name is Jerome Kerviel. He was a trader at Societe Generale, a French bank which did speculative trading as its main business along with some conventional banking. The bank says Kerviel made bets of up to euro50 billion – more than the bank’s total market value – on futures contracts on three European equity indices, and that he masked the size of his bets by recording fictitious offsetting transactions. The following is from the Huffington Post:

The 33-year-old was convicted Tuesday, sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay his former employer damages of euro4.9 billion ($6.7 billion) – the equivalent of 20 Airbus A380 superjumbo jets.

“I’m starting to digest it, but I’m nonetheless crushed by the weight of the sanction and the weight of responsibility the ruling places on me,” Kerviel told Europe-1 radio.

At the same time, some observers began calling for the bank to let Kerviel off the hook for the euro4.9 billion the court ruled he owed it.

Government spokesman Luc Chatel told French radio RMC that this was a “gesture” the bank might consider.

“I responded very clearly that it wasn’t up to the government, it was Societe Generale’s decision to eventually make a gesture, but it wasn’t our responsibility,” Chatel told reporters after the government’s weekly Cabinet meeting.

Kerviel maintained in court that the bank and his bosses tolerated his massive risk-taking as long as it made money – a claim the bank strongly denied, saying he took great pains to cover up his actions.

Read the rest here:

See the highlighted text. Even the most hard-core thieves maintain some honor among themselves. But, among the modern bankers who make their most hay in speculative trading and hefty bonuses, there is no honor what so ever.

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