French rogue trader's appeal trial starts today

Coverage of Kerviel trial


First, there is risk control in banks. Some skeptics wonder how the bank could have failed to detect these fraudulent trades for so long. Société Générale claims that it has learned from the disaster. Risk controls have been, it says, improved. But is it enough?

Two, while some heads fell at Société Générale after the whole affair was uncovered, some believe this is not enough. Others wonder why Kerviel was the only person tried. Was Kerviel chosen as a  scapegoat, in a system chiefly based on  good-old-boy camaraderie?

Social classes

Three, particularly in France, where social mobility is difficult to achieve, was Kerviel, who didn't attend one of the elite schools, a victim of his desire to succeed in a world basically fordiden to him? This could explain why he took those risks and then tried to cover his losses. Is he also a victim of the elite (embodied not only by bankers but also by judges coming from the same background) seeking revenge not only for his actions but also for his will to climb the social ladder?

Four, why did Société Générale benefit from a tax credit after it reported a loss due to failed risk controls? Was there collusion between the bank and the tax office?

Some of these latter questions might not be answered during the appeal trial. Most likely, the court will stick to facts if it can ascertain them. Most likely, since the whole affair already has been paved with suits and counter suits (on defamation and other), it will at least entertain France, a country that loves to hate the financial world.

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