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Lawyer: Kerviel did nothing wrong

Latest update : 2008-01-27

Jérôme Kerviel has 'committed no dishonest act ' and 'did not profit in any way from the assets of the bank,' his lawyers declared on Sunday. The losses were caused by the bank's haste in liquidating the trader's positions, they added.

Lawyers for Jerome Kerviel, the trader fingered in the Societe Generale scandal, said Sunday he had done nothing wrong and blamed the bank for trying to divert attention from other losses.

Kerviel, "who was trained by the bank to make profits, has committed no dishonest act, did not siphon off a single cent, and did not profit in any way from the assets of the bank," Elisabeth Meyer and Christian Charriere-Bournazel told AFP by telephone.

They also accused the bank of trying to "create a smokescreen which would divert public attention from losses that were significantly more substantial than those it accumulated in recent months", notably in the midst of the US subprime mortgage crisis.

They went on to accuse Societe Generale of having liquidated with needless haste the positions -- said by the bank to be in the vicinity of 50 billion euros (73 billion dollars) -- that Kerviel had taken.

"It itself provoked losses of about 4.5 billion euros," the lawyers said.

Police were questioning Kerviel Sunday over the loss of 4.9 billion euros by Societe Generale, and must decide Monday whether to release him or place him under further investigation.

The bank has filed a criminal complaint against the trader accusing him of using fraud to cover up failed deals worth billions.

Meyer and Charriere-Bournazel also denounced the "extraordinary media lynching" of their client over the case, and accused Societe General bank chairman Daniel Bouton of "feeding him to the wolves" through his public statements.

Date created : 2008-01-27

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