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Last updated at 16:58 BST, Thursday, 07 October 2010

Trader sentenced for SocGen scandal


6 October 2010

A court in Paris has sentenced Jerome Kerviel to three years in jail for unauthorised financial deals that nearly ruined the French bank, Societe Generale, in 2008. Kerviel has also been ordered to pay back almost five billion euros.

Christian Fraser

Jerome Kerviel accompanied by a French police officer

A police officer with Jerome Kerviel


Click to hear the report:


He painted himself as a pawn in a system that drove him to take risks. But today the court ruled that Jerome Kerviel should take sole responsibility for one of the biggest banking frauds in history.

He was sentenced to three years behind bars and instructed to pay back the 4.9 billion euros of debt he'd run up. For Kerviel, now a computer consultant on 26,000 euros a year, that is a lifetime sentence.

The bank will be pleased with this verdict. His managers could not have known, nor suspected, said the court, what he was up to. But Kerviel was gambling with more than the bank's entire stock market value.


Click to hear the vocabulary:


he painted himself

he described himself

a pawn

someone who is controlled by someone else (a pawn is the smallest and least valuable piece in a game of chess)


officially decided


methods of stealing money, often using clever and complicated deception

behind bars

in prison

he'd run up

(money) he'd used or borrowed


official decision made by the court


believed something to be true

up to

doing (to be up to something is a phrasal verb meaning to be doing something)


betting money on uncertain results (usually on card games and sporting events)

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