sexta-feira, 25 de janeiro de 2008
Police raid flat of rogue trader Jerome Kerviel
French police this evening forced their way into the home of the rogue trader blamed for one of the largest scandals in the history of banking.
Plain-clothes officers required the help of a locksmith to gain access to Jerome Kerviel's apartment in Neuilly-sur-Seine, the upmarket suburb of Paris, at around 5.30pm.
The precise whereabouts of the 31-year-old remain a mystery, although his lawyer insists that he is not in hiding and is prepared to speak to the authorities.
It was revealed today that Mr Kerviel began his incredible deception after being deeply affected by the death of his father.
Neighbours in the pretty village in Brittany where Jerome Kerviel grew up said his father Charles, a local builder, died less than a year ago.
One said: "They are a close family and Jerome was very upset by the death of his father. I'm sure this must have had something to do with it."
The mayor of Pont-l'Abbe, Thierry Mavic, also implied that a marriage break-up may have affected the trader's behaviour.
The town official said Mr Kerviel was married "two or three years ago" - suggesting that he may now be divorced or separated.
Earlier today a friend of Mr Kerviel posted a handwritten note on the letter box of the trader's flat reading: "Don't search here. He has been seeking refuge elsewhere probably for some time now."
Neighbour Jacqueline Cuny said: "He used to leave early in the morning and come home late at night. He was a busy young man."
Sources say the trader and amateur judo instructor is "suffering trauma" at the wave of global publicity which has made his name one of the most searched-for terms on the internet.
"It's only natural that he might want to stay away from the limelight.
"He wants to deal with the authorities but does not want to become a celebrity. It's just not in his nature."
Société Générale announced this morning that the sums involved in the alleged fraud could be even greater than first thought.
A bank official confirmed that the size of the trader's positions had reached "several tens of billions of euros," a staggering sum for a bank whose market capitalization is €35.9 billion. The amount is even more stunning in comparison with the $15 million a year revenue attributed to the team in which Mr Kerviel worked.
One former colleague described the situation as a "like a mutating virus", adding: "Once you are in the maelstrom it is probably hard to stop."
The bank has filed an official complaint accusing Mr Kerviel of falsifying records and computer fraud.
They suspect he was taking massive risks in an attempt to boost his bonuses which, his salary included, amounted to a relatively modest £75,000 last year.
Investigating judges and police are expected to try to interview the 31-year-old at the earliest available opportunity, after the Paris prosecutors office opened a preliminary hearing into the scandal.