Jerome Kerviel sues bank for €5.7bn after conviction for causing €4.9bn loss

Frenchman says SocGen had no grounds to fire him

Jerome Kerviel, who was convicted of causing a record trading loss of €4.9 billion at Societe Generale, is suing the French bank for even more in a Paris employment lawsuit that claims he was unfairly dismissed in 2008.

Kerviel, who is seeking €5.7 billion in compensation, believes SocGen had no grounds to fire him because the bank was well aware of his trading activities, his lawyer, David Koubbi, told a court on Thursday.

Mr Koubbi said the demand was fair because the bank had previously won rulings requiring Kerviel to pay back the full trading loss.

“Societe Generale has created a legal precedent by which you are allowed to ask for €4.9 billion in damages without any proof,” Mr Koubbi said.


The employment tribunal hearing is the latest twist in the story of the former trader who has taken equal turns as villain and folk hero since he was blamed for causing the record loss at France’s second-largest lender.

In 2014, before serving five months of a three-year prison sentence, he said he was inspired by a brief meeting with Pope Francis to take a 1,400-kilometre walk from Rome to Paris.

Deaf ears

While the order requiring him to repay the amount of the trading loss has since been cancelled, Kerviel’s claims that he wasn’t responsible for the scandal have fallen on deaf ears in French courts.

The bank’s press office in Paris didn’t immediately respond to a call seeking comment.

Several verdicts found Kerviel exclusively guilty for the trading loss, yet he contests the amount of the loss and considers Societe Generale should also be held responsible.

The former trader has mounted a fresh legal challenge after Nathalie Le Roy, the police officer who led Kerviel investigations in 2008 and 2012, last year expressed concerns about how she was pressured to focus solely on evidence that would incriminate him.

France’s court of review and reassessment in March indefinitely delayed its verdict on this bid for a retrial. Judges said they want to wait for separate lines of inquiry into the use of forged documents, witness subordination and obtaining a ruling under false pretenses to run their course. Additionally, a civil trial over the amount Kerviel owed Societe Generale is scheduled for June.