Option A: shut the hell up. Option B: spend time in prison. Read more »
Yesterday in France, a court sentenced everyone’s favorite rogue trader, Jerome Kerviel, to three years in prison and said he must also “pay back” the $6.8 billion that was lost. At his current salary as a technology consultant, it should only take Kerviel 170,000 years to do so. Attorney Olivier Metzner said his client is “disgusted” by the ruling and today JK compared it to being “hit on the head with a club…I’m starting to digest it, but I’m nonetheless crushed by the weight of the sanction and the weight of responsibility the ruling places on me.” Well his former employer has some news that might just turn that frown upside down. Read more »
True, French bankers are masters of the disdainful frown, delivered with great poise and bitterness even when breaking the news that the client’s entire fortune was, in fact, invested with Bernie Madoff. But even among these captains of the curmudgeon, occasionally a standout emerges. In the case of the SocGen insider trading probe, we are introduced to the art’s newest grandmaster: Jean-Pierre Mustier, and behind-the-scenes side-kick, Robert Day.
Our eyes were already glazed over when we finally turned our attention to the the report released by Société Générale on the Jerome Kerviel scandal. The ocular varnish hardened to opaque as we skimmed through blather about how almost everything had gone right, everyone had done things well, and it was just a few bad eggs. It confirms much of what we had already concluded—that the back office lacked the knowledge and spine to really control the risk of the traders. “In some cases, according to the report, controllers who asked Mr. Kerviel about irregularities in his trades didn’t understand his explanations, but they dropped their inquiries,” the Wall Street Journal writes.
We woke up a bit when we read the Journal’s summary of the report: “The findings are likely to prompt widespread soul-searching within the banking sector.” Cue laughter.
But what really got our attention and tore the scales from our eyes was the chart attached to the report. Kerviel, according to SocGen, hid his real profit and loss by displaying an “official” P&L that was very small by comparison. After the jump, we bring you the chart.