The man whose trading almost brought down Societe Generale, one of France’s biggest banks, has appeared in court.
Jerome Kerviel’s long-awaited trial is widely seen as crucial for matters of future regulation and crisis prevention.
He faces several charges over the 4.9 billion euro loss in 2008 that threatened the bank.
But his lawyer, Oliver Metzner, insists his client is being made a scapegoat for faults within the system. “Kerviel has been used as a pawn for profit and then thrown away,” he said outside the Paris courtroom.
Kerviel, who admits building unauthorised trading positions leading up to the loss, says breaches in the bank’s risk control system were tolerated.
A defence that is hard to believe, according to financial affairs expert, Christian Chavagneux.
“All traders have some margin or freedom to act, they can pass certain limits as long as they make money. But here the sums were so enormous that I cannot imagine for one moment that one of his bosses knew about it and let him carry on,” he said.
Kerviel faces a five-year jail term and a 375,000 euro fine if found guilty.
The trial is expected to last three weeks.