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Jerome 'evil' Kerviel Wins $510,000 Unfair Dismissal Suit

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Rogue trader, or rogue bank?

Jerome Kerviel, who was convicted of causing a record trading loss of 4.9 billion euros ($5.6 billion) at Societe Generale SA, won a payout of more than 450,000 euros in a Paris employment lawsuit over claims he was unfairly dismissed.

The award Tuesday includes 100,000 euros for unfair dismissal and his 300,000-euro bonus for 2007. The court, however, rejected Kerviel’s multi-billion euro request for more than the underlying loss at the bank.

The employment tribunal verdict is the latest twist in the story of the former trader who has taken equal turns as villain and folk hero since he was blamed for causing the record loss at France’s second-largest lender. The ruling could have an effect on other pending cases that Kerviel has filed in French courts.

"Societe Generale can’t pretend it was not aware of Jerome Kerviel’s fake operations" before his dismissal in January 2008, Judge Hugues Cambournac said. The dismissal "didn’t sanction Kerviel’s acts, but its consequences."

Immediate Appeal

The bank will "immediately" appeal the ruling, which includes an order to immediately pay Kerviel 80,000 euros. "It’s a scandalous decision," said Arnaud Chaulet, a lawyer representing Societe Generale.

At a hearing last month, Kerviel’s lawyer, David Koubbi, justified the tit-for-tat demand for compensation by telling the tribunal that it was only fair because the bank had previously pressed for Kerviel to pay back the full trading loss.

While an order requiring him to repay the amount of the trading loss has been overturned, Kerviel’s claims that he wasn’t responsible for the scandal have fallen on deaf ears in French courts. Several verdicts found Kerviel exclusively guilty for the trading loss, yet he contests the amount of the loss and says Societe Generale should also be held responsible. The former trader has mounted a fresh legal challenge to his conviction after Nathalie Le Roy, the police officer who led Kerviel probes in 2008 and 2012, expressed concerns last year about how she was pressured to focus solely on evidence that would incriminate him.


Edited by zugzwang

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