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The rogue trader who lost his bank $5 billion

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Former trader Jerome Kerviel

Jerome Kerviel is a former French trader who became infamous for his role in the largest financial fraud in French history.

He was born on January 11, 1977, in Pont-'Abbe, France.

Kerviel was a rising star at Societe Generale, one of the largest banks in France, where he worked as a trader in the bank's Delta One desk.

Kerviel had carried out unauthorized trading activities that led to massive losses for the bank, totalling nearly €5 billion.

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What did Jerome Kerviel do?

In 2008, it was revealed that Kerviel had carried out unauthorized trading activities that led to massive losses for the bank, totalling nearly €5 billion.

He had been making risky and complex bets on the markets, using fraudulent and unauthorized methods to conceal his trades from the bank's risk management systems.

The losses were so huge they threatened the stability of the entire bank, which was forced to carry out a massive restructure to stay afloat.

What happened to him?

After he was rumbled for the fraud, Kerviel was fired by the bank and charged with breach of trust, forgery, and unauthorized computer use.

He was sentenced to three years in prison in 2010 and ordered to pay restitution to the bank for the losses it suffered.

However, he appealed the sentence and only spent five months in prison before his release in 2014.

The trader insisted he was not solely responsible for the losses.

He argued the bank's management had turned a blind eye to his activities and failed to monitor the trading desk properly.

The case sparked a major debate in France over the regulation of the financial markets and the responsibility of banks to prevent fraud and manage risk.

The case highlighted the competitive, high-risk culture in the world of investment banking and the colossal effect traders can have on their banks if they take risks.

Kerviel became a controversial figure in the years after the scam in his home country.

Some viewed him as a corrupt, greedy, rogue trader who had caused severe damage to the banking system.

But others saw him as a victim of the corrupt and unaccountable financial system.

Kerviel fought to have the conviction dropped and continued to argue he was being made a scapegoat for the failure of the bank.

What does Jerome Kerviel do now?

Kerviel works as a consultant in France after his release.

In 2014, he travelled on foot to Italy to meet The Pope to discuss the problems of modern capitalism.

What can we learn?

Despite the notoriety of the Kerviel case, it remains a cautionary tale for the financial industry and a reminder of the risks and consequences of fraudulent activity in the banking sector.

It has also spurred calls for greater transparency and accountability in the banking industry and highlighted the need for improved risk management systems to prevent such frauds from happening again.

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