UBS rogue trader Kweku Adoboli says his actions were like a self-sacrifice to chase his employer’s goals
Rogue trader Kweku Adoboli has hit back at suggestions he acted out of greed, correcting his critics by saying his actions were motivated by wanting to benefit his employer.
Adoboli was convicted on two counts of fraud in 2012 after his unauthorised trading lost Swiss banking giant UBS £1.4bn. He was released from prison last summer after serving around half of his seven-year sentence.
"It wasn't about personal gain," Adoboli told City A.M. "It wasn't about this love of gambling…It was about what can we do to help the institution to achieve its goals."
He added: "It sounds crazy to use this word but [it was] almost to sacrifice yourself in pursuit of the bank's goals."
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Adoboli, who apologised for his actions numerous times while talking to City A.M., also slammed suggestions his behaviour could have driven UBS to collapse, adding: "It's just like a sensationalist thing that people say. It's just not true."
Adoboli described how he was encouraged to chase risk to turn a profit on his book, adding: "Risk-taking is the lifeblood of the industry."
Speaking of the environment at the time, he added: "We were in an environment where managers would come to you and say things like, 'Kweku, we need you guys to push the boundaries harder and you won't know if you've pushed the boundaries hard enough until you get a slap on the wrist.'"
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He continued: "You live in that bubble day-in, day-out, minute-in, minute-out, with little sleep and that becomes your culture – profit at any cost," he said.
Adoboli is currently facing deportation to Ghana, where he was born but only lived until he is four. He now volunteers his time speaking at banking compliance conferences, having been prevented from taking on paid work because of the deportation order.
He described deportation as a "crushing final outcome that feels truly disproportionate and unfair considering how much responsibility I've already taken, what I'm trying to do to change culture in the industry".
Adoboli is currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Fundrazr to raise legal fees. At the time of writing, he has raised £14,651, or 20 per cent, of his £75,000 goal.
"I'm really, really keen to be allowed to remain in the UK to do this work…I really think it's really important that people are given the opportunity to look behind the headlines on what happened with me and what happened at UBS," he said.