In defence of Jérôme Kerviel


In a dramatic move, the convicted trader Jérôme Kerviel has called on President François Hollande to offer immunity for key witnesses. These witnesses, he says, would throw a very different light on his conviction in 2010 as a “rogue trader” who lost his bank Société Générale almost 5 billion euros. Returning from a long walk to Rome, Kerviel initially said he would not set foot on French soil to start his three-year prison sentence until the president gave his response, but later crossed the border. Here Mediapart's Martine Orange makes an impassioned plea in defence of Kerviel, whom she argues has been deprived of the right of a fair and just trial to which everyone is entitled. For six years, she says, he has come up against a justice system that was blind and deaf to its own considerable shortcomings in the affair.

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Everyone has the right to a fair and just trial. Jérôme Kerviel, convicted in 2010 as a “rogue trader” after apparently losing his bank Société Générale around 4.9 billion euros, has not had that right. For six years he has come up against a justice system that has been both blind and deaf, which in particular did not want to see, hear or take note of its own failings and weaknesses. Now that the highest appeal court the Cour de Cassation has quashed the civil part of the case, showing that the bank's own responsibilities in the affair have not been taken into account, and that a single man could not owe 4.9 billion euros in damages and interest - starkly highlighting all the problems in the case – the prosecution is ready to make Kerviel start his three-year jail sentence without waiting for the conclusion of another judicial case that could sweep away all the assumptions of the Kerviel affair. It is as if they want to silence him quickly, hiding behind a thick prison wall this democratic scandal involving a justice system that has failed.