Former Societe Generale chief executive Daniel Bouton lashed out at rogue trader Jerome Kerviel in a Paris court yesterday, labelling his unauthorised trades the mark of an “evil genius” that shattered trust at the bank.
Bouton also said the sheer fear he felt at discovering Kerviel’s “monstrous” unauthorised trading positions – which were blamed by SocGen for a €4.9bn (£4bn) trading loss in 2008 – drove him to label the 33-year-old a “terrorist”.
“It’s a catastrophe, it’s not an issue of losses or amounts. The trust that should exist between us is shattered,” said Bouton, who quit SocGen in 2009 amid controversy, in part over his handling of the Kerviel scandal.
Bouton told the court a bank does not do its job by betting on the rise or fall of stock
markets and added that he was convinced that no supervisor would have tolerated
Kerviel’s actions – contrary to the argument put forward by the trader. “I cannot believe for one second any of Jerome Kerviel’s supervisors were aware (of his bets),” Bouton told the courtroom in the Palais de Justice on the 10th day of Kerviel’s trial.
Turning to Kerviel, seated behind him, Bouton added, with a heavy dose of sarcasm: “I’m sorry, my dear fellow.”
Although Kerviel has never denied his unauthorised bets that reached an estimated €50bn, he has insisted his superiors knew what he was doing. SocGen has argued Kerviel acted alone and egregiously and should be punished.
Kerviel risks five years in prison and a €375,000 fine if found guilty of charges of breach of trust, computer abuse and forgery.
The trial is set to run until 25 June.
City A.M. Reporter