Rogue trader Kerviel called a liar by boss

Steve Dinneen
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ROGUE trader Jerome Kerviel was branded a liar who took “inhuman” risks by a former boss yesterday during a trial over trading losses that brought French bank Societe Generale close to collapse.

The bank’s former head of investment banking, Jean-Pierre Mustier, hit back at Kerviel’s claims in court that SocGen tolerated unauthorised trading positions that eventually cost the bank €4.9bn (£4bn) to unwind in 2008.

“You lied to me all along,” an animated Mustier told Kerviel in the cramped courtroom in the Palais de Justice, before telling judges Kerviel took “inhuman” risks that would be termed “criminal” in the United States.

Kerviel , 33, risks five years in jail and a €375,000 fine if found guilty of charges of breach of trust, computer abuse and forgery. His trial began on Tuesday amid a media frenzy over one of the most famous faces of the financial crisis in France.

The ex-trader has said his bosses encouraged him to take risks and his lawyer has painted him as a “pawn.”SocGen says he acted alone and denies tacit complicity.

“We encouraged traders to know how to take risks. We did not encourage them to take risks,” said Mustier, who quit SocGen last August amid an insider trading probe that also targeted non-executive director Robert Day.

Lawyers quizzed Mustier over the probe Wednesday, but the ex-banker responded by saying the regulator's sanctions committee planned to recommend his acquittal.