Friend of UBS "rogue trader" saw Kerviel parallels

LONDON Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:10pm EDT

Former UBS trader Kweku Adoboli arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London October 25, 2012. REUTERS/Olivia Harris

Former UBS trader Kweku Adoboli arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London October 25, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Olivia Harris

LONDON (Reuters) - A friend of accused UBS (UBSN.VX) fraudster Kweku Adoboli told him in 2008 she hoped never to read articles about him in the press like those she had read about a "rogue trader" at France's Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) , a London court heard on Thursday.

Adoboli, who is accused of losing UBS $2.3 billion in 2011, was expected to start giving evidence in his defense at his trial on Thursday but that was delayed by last-minute legal arguments.

The 32-year-old British-educated Ghanaian denies two charges of fraud by abuse of position and two of false accounting. He is now expected to enter the witness box on Friday, six weeks into his trial.

Wrapping up their case against him on Thursday morning, the prosecution read out to the jury an exchange of emails between Adoboli and his friend Sarah Moore dating back to January 2008. They were discussing the case of Societe Generale trader Jerome Kerviel, which had recently come to light.

"The more I have read about this, the more interesting parallels I see with your life," Moore told Adoboli.

"Please don't let me read about you in the papers in the same fashion," she wrote. "It would destroy my faith in human nature forever."

Moore had started the exchange by forwarding to Adoboli and others a humorous newspaper article that began: "Friends of rogue trader Jerome Kerviel last night blamed his $7 billion losses on unbearable levels of stress brought on by a punishing 30-hour working week."

Adoboli responded that "it brings so much joy, this story", commenting in the same email: "... to think that he (Kerviel) does exactly what Hughesy and I do."

"Hughesy" was a reference to John Hughes, Adoboli's fellow trader at UBS's Exchange Traded Funds desk.

SPREAD-BETTING

The prosecution say Adoboli traded far in excess of his authorized risk limits, booked fictitious trades to conceal his positions and gave bogus explanations to the back office when asked questions.

The defense say he was acting in line with management calls for greater risk-taking in pursuit of greater profits. They also say others within UBS knew of and condoned some of his methods, and that supervision was inadequate.

Reading out some "agreed facts", or evidence that both the prosecution and the defense accept as correct, the prosecution returned on Thursday to the subject of Adoboli's personal spread-betting activity.

The prosecution have presented Adoboli as a compulsive gambler and put forward details of his personal trading as evidence of that earlier in the trial. The defense reject the gambler label.

Thursday's agreed facts included records showing Adoboli had used his City Index spread-betting account during the final hours of his trading career, as events were unfolding that would lead to his arrest.

On September 14, 2011, the day when he sent an email to a back office accountant revealing that he had booked fictitious trades to hide losses made on "off-book trades", Adoboli repeatedly used the City Index account.

The last time he accessed it was just minutes before he re-entered UBS offices for the last time to begin a grueling 12 hours of meetings with management and lawyers about the contents of the email. Those meetings ended in his arrest at 3:35 a.m.

The trial continues on Friday.

(Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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