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French court annuls dismissal payout to 'rogue trader' Kerviel

By AFP
media Jerome Kerviel has long claimed his former employer Societe Generale knew about rogue trades which eventually cost it billions of euros AFP/File

A French appeals court on Wednesday cancelled an unfair dismissal payout to former Societe Generale trader Jerome Kerviel, whose deals cost the bank 4.9 billion euros after they turned sour.

Kerviel has waged a legal battle on several fronts against his former employer, claiming his supervisors were aware of his risky bets which initially brought in hundreds of millions of euros.

In September, he lost his bid for a retrial after a court sentenced him to a five-year prison term in 2010, with two years suspended, for breach of trust, forgery and entering false data to hide massive trading losses.

But in June 2016 a Paris labour tribunal ordered Societe Generale to pay him 450,000 euros in damages, saying he had been fired "without genuine or serious cause."

In particular the tribunal said Kerviel, now 41, was owed a 300,000 euro bonus for 2007, saying the bank knew he was exceeding trading limits for several months before his dismissal.

But the appeals court ruled Wednesday that Societe Generale's move to fire Kerviel for cause was justified after he brought the bank to the brink of insolvency.

Kerviel, the son of a blacksmith from rural Brittany who has since become a trenchant critic of "casino capitalism," remains a divisive figure in France since his case made global headlines in 2008.

Many believe he is a scapegoat for reckless activities by banks which provoked the financial crisis, while others think he should pay the price for his actions.

Kerviel was initially ordered to reimburse the entire 4.9 billion euros -- $5.6 billion at current exchange rates.

However an appeals court later reduced the fine to just one million euros, citing "woefully inadequate" internal checks at Societe Generale.

 
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