The Paris public prosecutor’s office has recommended that three complaints for forgery and use of falsified documents, for obtaining a ruling under false pretences and for subornation of a witness lodged by former trader Jérôme Kerviel against the Société Générale bank be dismissed. Kerviel, whose high-risk trading was revealed in January 2008 to have cost the bank almost 5 billion euros, has fought a long-running legal battle for the recognition of the responsibility of the Société Générale in his reckless trades, already partly established in court. A senior police officer who twice led investigations into the case and who denounced the bank’s manipulation of investigators, Commander Nathalie Le Roy, has told Mediapart that the decision to throw out Kerviel’s remaining legal action comes as no surprise. Ostracised by her hierarchy, she tells Mediapart that she has no regrets for blowing the whistle on what increasingly appears to be a cover up. Martine Orange reports.
In January 2008, French bank Société Générale announced it had lost 4.9 billion euros through the reckless actions of one of its traders, Jérôme Kerviel, claiming it had been unaware of his actions. Kerviel, who maintained from the start that his hierarchy knew what he was doing, received a jail sentence for forgery, fraud and hacking, and was ordered to pay the bank, in damages, the huge sum it lost. But last month, Mediapart can reveal, the former head of the French police’s financial crime squad, who led its investigation of the events and who was once convinced of the bank’s claims that Kerviel acted on his own, has given a statement to a French judge in which she details why she later became convinced, during her second investigation into the affair in 2012, the trader's bosses knew of his actions. Commander Nathalie Le Roy said she now feels she had been “used” by the bank in the 2008 investigation, how it later held back key evidence she requested, of witness accounts that Kerviel’s superiors were already made aware in 2007 of his extravagant trades, of allegations that Société Générale staff were made to sign gagging agreements and revealed that its claimed losses have never been independently verified. Martine Orange reports on a dramatic turnaround in the affair which appears bound to reopen the case.
But appeal court does overturn initial judgement that Kerviel has to repay the 4.9 billion euros in losses he was said to have caused bank.