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France

Timeline: the trader accused of gambling away five billion euros

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-06-08

French banker Jérôme Kerviel stands accused of gambling away nearly five billion euros in risky, covert deals when he was a star trader at French bank Société Générale. FRANCE 24 looks back at the key steps in France’s “rogue trader” scandal.

January 24, 2008: Jérôme Kerviel, a 31-year-old trader from Brittany, suddenly finds himself in the global spotlight after his employer Société Générale blames him for a record loss of 4.9 billion euros in what is later billed as France’s biggest-ever financial scandal. Prosecutors call for him to be charged with breach of trust, falsifying and using fake documents, and entering false data into company computers.

January 28, 2008: After two days in police custody, Kerviel is indicted.

February 4, 2008: Judge Renaud van Ruymbeke questions Kerviel for the first time. The hearing stretches over eight hours. The young trader will be grilled by financial judges a full ten times before his trial.

February 8, 2008: Kerviel is placed on remand. He remains in custody until March 18.

May 23, 2008: An internal Société Générale report details the failings of Kerviel’s superiors, who allowed the losses to go unchecked despite early warning systems.

July 4, 2008: The French Banking Commission, responsible for policing the activities of financial institutions, fines Société Générale four million euros, citing “dysfunctional” shortcomings in its internal control systems.

April 29, 2009: Société Générale CEO Daniel Bouton resigns, citing huge pressure and personal attacks from the government. He insists he always had the confidence of his shareholders. He is replaced by his deputy, Frédéric Oudéa.

August 31, 2009: The two judges assigned to Kerviel’s case refer the trader to the criminal courts, saying they believe he had “gone beyond his limited authority and taken financial positions outside of the standard market”.

May 5, 2010: Kerviel’s book “The Spiral: Memoirs of a Trader”, is published. The young trader claims he was not solely responsible for his bank’s record losses. The same day Société Générale calls for “exemplary punishment” to be meted out against its former employee, insisting that he is fully to blame.

June 8, 2010: Jérôme Kerviel’s trial opens in Paris. It is expected to last until June 25. He faces up to five years in jail and a 375,000-euro fine if convicted.

Date created : 2010-06-08

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