Kweku Adoboli, who rather spectacularly lost UBS $2.3 billion on some unauthorized trades, is in a bit of a bind. Convicted of fraud and sent to prison for a few years over it, the Ghanian native finds that he not welcome in his adopted homeland, where he’s currently sleeping on a buddy’s couch in Edinburgh. As it turns out, multi-billion pound criminal convictions also come with deportation orders. Now, Adoboli doesn’t want to leave the U.K., where he’s lived for two-thirds of his 36 years. And in order to stay there, he has to prove that his presence is in the public interest. One tried-and-true approach to demonstrate such is publicly flagellating yourself in front of those at risk of becoming you or charged with tracking people like you down. And Adoboli is doing that—kinda. His message is less, “Don’t make unauthorized trades and, if you do, certainly don’t lie about them,” but, “The system is rigged against highly-paid traders like myself.”
Mr. Adoboli acknowledged that some view his appearances before groups like the Oxford Students’ Union and the Forward Institute, a British think tank, as a “cynical ploy” to avoid deportation on grounds that there is a public interest in having him remain in Britain….
Yet Mr. Adoboli, 36, believes that his experience offers a valuable lesson to regulators and financial institutions on the need for robust controls at investment banks and a change in their profits-at-all-costs work culture.
“I don’t want some kid to go through what I went through,” he said. “It is heartbreaking, and the only way we change that is we fix the system….”
Mr. Adoboli also blamed the strenuous work culture at banks for paving the way for him to make “morally unsound” decisions as losses started to pile up.