Soc Gen trader's 'scapegoat' claim

Kerviel publishes book calling for other traders to speak out

Jérôme Kerviel, who is accused of losing Société Générale billions of euros, calls on his ex-colleagues to speak out

A FORMER bank trader accused of losing billions of euros in unauthorised deals has urged his ex-colleagues at Société Générale to come forward and give evidence in his defence.

Jérôme Kerviel has published a book about the incident and has spent the weekend giving several interviews to the French media ahead of next month's trial in Paris.

He told Ouest France that he wanted his old trader colleagues to come forward as witnesses because he refused to become "a scapegoat" for what he claims was a much bigger problem.

"My book is a call for witnesses," he said. "A lot of people know [what happens at the bank] but dare not speak."

Kerviel handed himself into police in January 2008 after Société Générale revealed almost €5bn in losses.

He was charged with abuse of trust, falsifying documents and illegally accessing bank computers – accusations that he contests – and was freed on bail.

Kerviel's lawyer, Olivier Metzner, will argue in court next month that managers knew of the trader's dealings but failed to exert proper control and kept quiet as long as he was making good returns.

In an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche yesterday, Kerviel added: "Everyone was playing the system. I don't want to be the only person who pays for it. I am partly responsible but I want others to take their share of the blame."

Société Générale says the trader breached internal rules and took up positions that exposed the bank to excessive risk.

France's banking regulator fined the bank €4 million in 2008 and issued a formal warning to the bank for "grave deficiencies" in its internal controls that "made possible the development of the fraud and its serious financial consequences".

The trial will be held at the tribunal correctionnel in Paris from June 8 to 23.

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