MILLION-dollar profits and banking “orgies” sound nice and juicy at the best of times, but especially so when they involve a tell-all book penned by a man at the centre of some of the most high-profile rogue trading allegations ever to rock the financial world.
Jerome Kerviel has made a household name of himself after being accused of a £3.6bn banking fraud while working for French bank Société Générale. And today, one month before the 33-year-old is due to take the stand to defend himself, he’s releasing a book designed to make his case. The spicy tome, “L’Engrenage: Memoires d’un trader” (The Spiral: Memoirs of a Trader), alleges that Kerviel’s superiors were aware of the existence of his activities and did nothing to bring him under control – a claim that the bank itself has vehemently denied.
Kerviel also claims that the trading floor was regularly compared by bankers to a brothel, where traders were likened to prostitutes for their ability to rake in the earnings.
If convicted on the charges of breach of trust, falsifying documents and hacking into SocGen’s computers to alter information, Kerviel faces a maximum of five years in prison and a €375,000 fine – though the latter is unlikely to prove too much of a headache, given that his book will hit world bestseller lists before too long on the back of the sort of rampant publicity only a showy trial can provide…
The City may be privately a little sick of being pilloried by the politicians, but it’s refreshing to see that at least someone in Westminster isn’t taking the banker-bashing too seriously.
Ken Clarke, interviewed by this paper yesterday, opened up about his campaign trail, revealing that he’d planned to visit a City bank before the terrified Tory spin machine persuaded him not to go.
“No banks, no champagne...” sighed a mock-wistful Clarke, a wry smile playing about his lips.
Not long to go now until the most eagerly-awaited event of the year for the petrolheads of the finance world – the Canary Wharf London Motorexpo.
The exhibition, which has been running for 14 years now, is the only one of its kind in the UK, since it’s absolutely free to attend (hurray!). I’m told that last year was something of a dampened affair as car companies shied away from bringing their new stock in front of a crisis-hit financial community – though this year’s promises to be back to its roaring best, with around double the number of auto brands booked to attend.
There’ll be all manner of cars there, from Bentleys to BMWs, Jaguars and even the humble Skoda, with test drives available for the serious buyers out there. For those who aren’t so serious, there’s always the opportunity for unashamed gawping, as well as a new Le Mans vintage exhibition and a “Motor Sport Zone”, which insiders are describing as a “track day zone”. Roll on the 7–13 June.
If anyone out there is wondering at the lack of any effort from politicians at wooing the City, The Capitalist has found the reason – and it’s nothing to do with having a fetish for banker-bashing.
No, it appears they’re all hell-bent on lobbying the country’s toddlers, instead. According to Rachel Woodford, the director of strategy at London Capital, her daughter Jessica and son Sam have been inundated with enquiries from political parties as to how they’re planning to vote, and they’ve even had polling cards posted through the door by determined minions. All this, and both children are under the age of three.
We’ve had plenty of scaremongering over the potential implications of a hung parliament, but this is certainly a new one.
Into The Capitalist’s inbox pops a doom-laden missive from professional psychic Victoria Bullis, claiming that a study of the “energy” of the three election leaders has told her that Brown, Cameron and Clegg were always destined to go head to head in the election because they were involved in a “major battle” with each other in past lives. Not only that, but big decisions shouldn’t be taken while Mercury is in its troublesome “retrograde” phase (now, apparently), so we might end up with the wrong leader taking his place at the helm of the country as the dark external forces wreak havoc on the election. Perish the thought.