* Business choice likely to be seized upon by City critics
* Adoboli was jailed for 7 years over $2.3 billion losses
* UBS sacked Hughes for inadequate supervision of Adoboli
By Costas Pitas
LONDON, Nov 22 A former senior trader at UBS
, sacked for failing to prevent colleague Kweku Adoboli
from perpetrating the biggest fraud in British history, has set
up a gambling website.
In a decision likely to be seized upon by critics who say
traders have often made casino-style bets, John Hughes started
his gambling firm even though his website said his old job had
"removed all sense of optimism from his character".
Adoboli, his former subordinate now serving seven years in
jail for running up losses of $2.3 billion, argued during his
trial that his own behaviour was the result of a risky trading
culture encouraged by senior colleagues, and his lawyers alleged
that Hughes had played a major role in "off-book" trading.
Hughes admitted he had known of Adoboli's scheme to hide his
giant losses and that he had booked several fictitious trades
himself, but denied knowledge of some of Adoboli's biggest
multi-billion dollar trades.
Hughes said he had chosen to call his new gambling website
'BetsofMates', a play on the expression "Best of Mates".
That may grate with Adoboli who complained that his
colleagues, including Hughes, had "sold me down the river" after
a meeting at which he said it was decided he alone would carry
the can for the huge losses.
Hughes and the others said they had no memory of such a
"We're not a standard bookie," Hughes said of his new
website, which enables users to play against each other in
leagues, with each player placing bets of between two and 200
"We facilitate competition. The emphasis is a lot more on
competition than yield enhancement," he told Reuters on
The former senior trader on the Exchange Traded Funds desk
at UBS in London said Adoboli's conviction was "just incredibly
sad". He declined to comment further.
Despite a large salary and bonus, Adoboli was himself an
avid gambler and lost 123,000 pounds ($200,000) on
spread-betting in the year before his arrest.
One prosecutor accused him of being addicted to gambling to
which Adoboli countered that spread-betting was common among
City traders "like a taxi driver driving his own taxi home".
Hughes' profile on his new firm's website says that "seven
years in the City (had) removed all sense of optimism from his
character, and made him absurdly superstitious."
He told Reuters such feelings had arisen "sitting there
watching the markets for seven years and watching different news
hit the tapes and obviously the last seven years haven't been
the easiest in the financial markets."
Britain's Gambling Commission granted a licence to his pool
betting company 'Bets of Mates Limited', which is registered to
an East London address, in September 2012, two months before
Adoboli was convicted.