The Paris trial of Jérôme Kerviel, a young futures trader at No. 2 bank Société Générale, got under way this week. Did he make unauthorized trades without his superiors' knowledge?
So now we are finally at the Paris trial of Jérôme Kerviel, the junior futures trader and celebrity-accused who managed to lose some $6 billion of the assets of Société Générale. The basic question to be answered: who is responsible?
Millions of media years ago, in the Paleolithic period of January 2008 before toxic assets, Bernie Madoff, global meltdowns, sovereign debt, and the Greek bailout – back in the days when $6 billion was real money – rose “l’affaire Kerviel.”
The drama involving France’s No. 2 bank soaked headlines for months: How could a young buck not even from Paris, but provincial Breton, not an elite, who had “girlfriend trouble,” worked 23.5 hours a day, seemed slightly Tom Cruise-y, and didn’t actually profit from his artful dodging, cause the largest-ever loss of its kind, shaking global markets?
Former Société Générale chief Daniel Bouton, who resigned amid intense criticism just over a year ago, branded Kerviel “a terrorist” at the time. But Kerviel quickly became a romantic underdog – a clever anti-hero seen to be caught in the massive cogs of finance, who was only trying to do his job. T-shirts around Paris read, “I am Jerome’s girlfriend,” and he wrote a tell-all book, published last month.