Rogue trader Kerviel fails in bid for SocGen sacking inquiry

Jérôme Kerviel is free pending a second appeal against his 2010 conviction

Jérôme Kerviel, the rogue trader who was condemned to five years in prison and who must pay €4.9 billion in damages, suffered a further setback yesterday when a Paris employment tribunal rejected his request for an expert inquiry into the conditions of his dismissal by the Société Générale in 2008.

Mr Kerviel (36) is free while a court considers his second appeal against the 2010 criminal conviction, which should be heard in the autumn.

Legal channels
He and his lawyer, David Koubbi, have opened up two other legal channels: contesting the conditions of his sacking via the employment tribunal; and a lawsuit against the Société Générale for tape recording conversations between Kerviel and his bosses after the extent of his losses was discovered.

Mr Kerviel had asked the employment tribunal to overturn his dismissal and award him €4.9 billion in damages – the amount he owes the bank.


He says his bosses at SocGen were aware of the €50 billion in risky market positions he took at the beginning of the financial crisis, but turned against him when the bets started going bad.

Mr Kerviel may file another request for an expert inquiry before the next hearing by the employment tribunal, scheduled for March 24th, 2014.

“I’m disappointed,” Mr Kerviel said. “I would really have liked this inquiry, to get out of this misery, because I’m getting really fed up.

“I’m disgusted,” Mr Kerviel added. “There was never a €5 billion loss at Société Générale.”

His lawyer, Mr Koubbi, regretted that “a French citizen has been condemned to pay €5 billion in damages and interest without the slightest expertise. What is worrying the Société Générale? That independent experts should come to see what’s in their accounts to shed light on the debate? That’s done for a person whose house burns or whose car breaks down.”

Mr Kerviel was highly paid until he was sacked, but the former trader from a modest Breton family has re-styled himself as the victim of social prejudice on the part of elite bankers.

Dreyfus comparison
Mr Kerviel was defended yesterday by the far left politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who compared him to Alfred Dreyfus, the Jewish officer who was falsely accused of treason in the 19th century.

“This is a case of one individual against the financial world,” Mr Mélenchon said. “It’s emblematic of the kind of world we are living in.”

Lara Marlowe

Lara Marlowe

Lara Marlowe is Paris Correspondent of The Irish Times