Court upholds ‘rogue trader’ Kerviel’s prison sentence

French court overturns order that former Societe Generale employee pay €4.9bn in damages

France's highest court has upheld a prison sentence for one-time rogue trader Jerome Kerviel but it overturned a ruling that he must pay back €4.9 billion in civil damages.

Kerviel had appealed against the 2010 sentence of three years in prison, which had already been upheld once before by a lower appeals court.

In a statement, the court said the lower court decision had not taken into account faults committed by Kerviel's former employer, French bank Societe Generale, when it ordered ordered Kerviel to repay the bank's entire losses in the fraud.

Kerviel is currently in Italy, walking back to Paris on a pilgrimage after meeting the pope. Television images showed him wearing a red jacket and red backpack, walking swiftly and trying to ignore the numerous journalists trailing him. He made no statement.


The ex-trader was convicted of carrying out one of the biggest trading frauds in history. In a radio interview yesterday, Kerviel said he would not try to abscond if his appeal was rejected.

Kerviel sees himself as a victim of a system that turned a blind eye to his trades as long as they made money for the bank, Societe Generale.

"We will continue to fight to show that the so-called Kerviel case was in fact the Societe Generale case," David Koubbi, Kerviel's lawyer said.