Former Société Générale trader Jerome Kerviel will know tomorrow afternoon whether he can “get on with his life” or will sleep in jail, as the French Court of Appeal gives its verdict. Found guilty of breach of trust, computer abuse and forgery on Oct. 5, 2010, after his trading adventure resulted in a €4.9 billion ($6.4 billion) loss for the second largest French bank in 2008, Kerviel was sentenced to a three-year prison term and ordered to repay the full amount of the loss incurred by the bank while unwinding his €50 billion trades. His sentence was suspended pending his appeal, which took place in June 2012.
Though he never denied faking some trades and tampering with evidence to hide them, the rogue trader maintains that the bank “knew” what was going on all along.
His final attempt to be acquitted might backfire. At the end of the hearings, the prosecution asked for the maximum (five years) and suggested that he be sentenced to repay, albeit symbolically, the total amount Société Général lost.
“This is my life that is at stake as I appear in front of you,” pleaded the 35 year old trader, parting from his usual sullen behavior. Did his new attitude win him the sympathy of the court? Did his lawyer's new strategy – trying to prove that, on top of being aware of every fake trade, his employer had tried to frame him and make him bear the brunt of other losing positions being unwound at the same time – win the day? Head Judge Mireille Filippini didn't seem impressed with either when she closed the appeal hearings...
For a recap of ther Kerviel trial, click here.