The man accused of one of the biggest banking frauds in history has appeared in court on the first day of his high-profile trial in Paris.
Jerome Kerviel denies claims by his former employer Société Générale that his speculative dealing led to almost five billion euros in losses.
His lawyer spoke to the press outside the court:
“The truth here is about what really happens on the trading floors – and we aim to show this during the trial and I hope that Société Générale will not continue to hide things,” said Oliver Metzner.
Mr Kerviel has already laid out his defence.
He published a book in France a fortnight ago, detailing his side of the story.
The former trader has always insisted his bosses knew what he was doing.
But Société Générale – France’s second largest bank – denies that was the case.
“Mr Kerviel acted alone, and he hid this from his superiors, even if, sadly, the alarm was not raised early enough for this to be discovered,” said Jean Veil, lawyer for Societe Generale.
For some in France – Kerviel is an anti-hero and it is really “capitalism” that stands accused.
Francois Chaulet, financial analyst says: “What is also on trial here is the contemporary system adopted by many banks and trading companies. Apart from the losses Société Générale obviously admits were made by Jerome Kerviel, it’s not clear just how far some in the business are prepared to go in ignoring the guidelines from on-high.”
The trial is expected to last three weeks.
Jerome Kerviel faces five years in prison and a 500,000 euro fine if convicted.