French police have searched the flat of Jerome Kerviel, the so-called rogue trader who lost nearly five billion euros at the Societe Generale bank in the world’s largest fraud in banking history. Officers spent two hours at the address in the exclusive Paris suburb of Neuilly before leaving with a number of briefcases.
Since the scandal emerged on Thursday, Kerviel’s whereabouts have been unknown but his lawyer says he is not on the run and is ready to cooperate with investigators. The head of France’s central bank has called him a “master of fraud” and a “computer genius”. Sentiments shared by Soc Gen bosses who claim Kerviel used his inside knowledge to cover up his expanding losses on his trading account.
But finance expert, Alain Crouzat, says that seems unbelievable nowadays. He said: “Just imagine those 50 billion euros which have been moved by this trader. It represents more than the bank’s capital, more than France’s deficit, but the bank’s treasurer and the authorities weren’t alarmed by it? It’s just an incredible explanation.”
Societe Generale say the fraud was based on simple transactions, but concealed by “sophisticated and varied techniques”. The bank has also sought to reassure its clients and the market that investments remain safe.