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Kerviel seen as risk-taker

Marion Dakers
ROGUE trader Jerome Kerviel took “stratospheric” risks that put French bank Societe Generale in danger, an ex-colleague told a Paris court yesterday.

Kerviel’s positions, blamed by SocGen for a €4.9bn (£4bn) trading loss in 2008, were described as “disappointing” by witness Salim Nemouchi on the third day of Kerviel’s trial for breach of trust, computer abuse and forgery.

Nemouchi, who still works for SocGen, conceded that the bank could have acted earlier and avoided losses if it had questioned Kerviel over an “exceptional”?gain of €1.5bn in 2007.

“It’s a possibility,” he told the court. “I can’t explain his actions. I am disappointed by his behaviour, All traders have limits they must respect,” said Nemouchi.

Kerviel, 33, faces a maximum of five years in jail and a €375,000 fine if found guilty. His lawyers have depicted him as a “pawn”, whose actions were implicitly tolerated by SocGen.

France’s second-biggest bank has rejected the claims, arguing he acted alone without their knowledge.

The trial began on Tuesday with widespread media coverage across Europe, and is expected to last three weeks.