Prison, $7 billion fine for French rogue trader

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PARIS — The Paris appeals court today ordered former Societe Generale trader Jerome Kerviel to spend three years in prison and pay back about $7 billion in damages for one of the biggest trading frauds in history.

The 35-year-old Kerviel, who never profited personally from his unauthorized trades, says he was a scapegoat for the bank and a victim of a financial system that runs on greed and profits.

A lower court convicted Kerviel in October 2010 of forgery, breach of trust and unauthorized computer use for covering up bets worth nearly $64.8 billion — more than the value of the entire bank — in 2007 and 2008.

By the time his trades were discovered in early 2008, when banks were sliding into a global crisis, had amassed losses of almost $6.5 billion on those bets.

The appeals court today upheld the full conviction and sentence. It did not send Kerviel directly to prison, leaving him free pending his decision on whether to appeal to the Court of Cassation.

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