Business, Economics and Jobs

Prosecutors seek five years' jail for rogue trader Jerome Kerviel


Jerome Kerviel, right, arrives at the appeal court in Paris with his lawyer David Koubbi on June 4, 2012.

PARIS, France — Prosecutors today called for former Societe Generale employee Jerome Kerviel to serve five years in prison for his role in the country's biggest trading scandal, Agence France Presse reported.

State prosecutor Dominique Gaillardot told a Paris appeals court that Kerviel, who cost the bank 4.9 billion euros ($6.1 billion) through risky bets on futures markets, was "perverse and manipulative," and urged the judges to make an example of him by extending his original three-year sentence.

More from GlobalPost: Former Societe Generale trader Jerome Kerviel begins appeal

Gaillardot said Kerviel was not a computer genius or the inventor of a method of fraud, but “a trader who took advantage of loopholes in the system,” France Info reported, adding that Kerviel knew how to keep his trades from being detected.

"Your decision will have to set an example and be dissuasive, whether all those who see Jerome Kerviel as a victim of finance like it or not...he is a victim only of himself."

The defense is due to make its closing arguments Thursday in the appeal, launched by Kerviel after he was sentenced to three years in prison in October 2010, and ordered to pay back the money he had cost Societe Generale back in 2008.

Kerviel, who has remained free while awaiting his appeals hearing, has insisted that his superiors knew about his unauthorized trades, but turned a blind eye as long as he was making a profit, Reuters reported. Societe Generale, however, told the court that Kerviel, 35, acted alone, and with "great ingenuity."

More from GlobalPost: Banking on Africa's poor

According to Radio France Internationale, during his original trial, the French media saw Kerviel as the “fall guy”, and a victim of banking excess – and reacted with astonishment when he was convicted for breach of trust, forgery and entering false information into Societe General's computers.

The court will retire to deliberate following Thursday's defense arguments, and is not expected to make a decision for several weeks.