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Société Générale, France's second bank, stunned the financial world on Thursday 24Jan 2008 (3 days after the "Bleu Monday" markets turmoil) by announcing it had discovered massive losses of €4.9 billion Euro (£3.7bn, $7 bn) from suspected trading fraud. It is an incredible story, the massive SocGen bank alledged that Jérôme Kerviel, - a lone 31 year old options trader was the suspected "genius of fraud". Questions remain how exposure in unauthorised trades on the equity derivatives market allowed to escalate to €50bn. Since judicial investigation proceedings began, Mon. Kerviel was charged with breach of trust, falsifying documents, and breach of IT controls - but not the most serious charge - that of attempted fraud - was released on bail, and was even under 24hour Police protection.
Meanwhile, chairman Bouton, head of investment banking Mustier, and governer of the Bank of France Noyer have come in for criticism for their handling of the affair. The question of the system posed by the Roman poet Juvenal remains : Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? or "Who will guard the guards?" . It has been alledged that Mon. Kerviel is now consulting in Parissince his release with the Information Security Systems sector company Lemaire consultantcy .
5 October2010 - Jerome found guilty. The sentence passed was 5 years of prison, with 2 years suspended, a permanent ban from working in the financial services Industry, and restitution of the €4b /$6.7 billion to Société Générale. Mssr. Metzner, Jerome's lawyer, described the sentence as "extraordinaire" and would appeal; the sentence is now suspended pending appeal completion
8 June 10. Jerome begins trial at the Palais de Justice, Paris - he faces up to five years in prison and a €400,000 / $450,000 fine .
10May 10 Jerome releases a book of his experiences - L’engrenage: Mémoires d’un Trader (Gears: Memoires of a Trader), in which he alleges that his superiors knew of his trading activities, and that the practice was very common.
04 July 08 French Financial Regulator fines SocGen 4m euros (£3.2m; $6.3m) for allowing an alledged rogue trading situation develop .
27 May 08 Chairman Daniel Bouton heckled at SocGen AGM by disgruntled shareholders.
12May 08 Daniel Bouton steps down as chief executive, but remains chairman of Socgen.
Deputy chief executive Frederic Oudea takes over as chief executive.
April 08 - Jerome restarts his career with Lemaire Consultants & Associates, an information systems and computer security consulting firm in Paris.
18Mar08 - Jerome Kerviel released from jail after 5 weeks under strict conditions.
Wed12Mar08 - A second SocGen trader is detained for questioning
Tue11Mar08 - SocGen raise over €5.5bn in selling reduced price shares to existing investors.
Wed20Feb08 - BNP announce it may be interested in SocGen business.
Fri8Feb2008 - Jerome Kerviel jailed 11 days after release. His solicitor pledges to appeal on Monday. Police also question another man.
Wed6Feb08 - Jerome Kerviel speaks for the first time about his alledged scapegoat status.
Tue5Feb08 - French economy minister Ms. Christine Lagarde delivered a report to the French government calling for enhanced banking controls, stating some of Societe Generale's internal control mechanisms had failed. Mon.Kerviel holds a press conference to explain his situation. He is now under 24hour police protection.
Thr31Jan08 - It emerged that Societe Generale's back office questioned Jerome Kerviel's transactions as long ago as March 2007, after confirmation he amassed a huge hidden profit of € 1.4bn for the bank at that point. There is no indication how the bank didn't forsee such a profit.
Wed30Jan08 - The board of SocGen have backed chairman and CEO Daniel Bouton, who was under pressure to resign. SocGen blame their trader Jerome Kerviel for the record €4.9bn / $7bn / £3.7bn lossses. However, Mr.Kerviels team reportedly stated SocGen were aware of risks being pursued, and that Mr Kerviel had trades in a profit situation upto March this year. SocGen will now create an independent committee to investigate the matter.
Tues29Jan08 - Prime Minister Fillon states that the French government will back SocGen against attempted hostile takeover bids ; Such news sent its shares up by 10%. Other French politicians called on the SocGen chairman Daniel Bouton to step down.
Mon28Jan08 - Prelim charges filed by SocGen: Elisabeth Meyer, JK's lawyer, said Jerome had been released on bail to an unknown location . The investigation will now allegedly concentrate on the aspects of breach of trust, falsifying documents and breaching computer security, but it is unclear if for fraud.
Sun27Jan08 - Mr. Jerome Kerviel has Police questioning in Paris extended.
Sat26Jan08 - Mr. Jerome Kerviel attends Police questioning in Paris.
Fri25Jan08 - Questions raised over alledged effects on the markets of losses of €4.9bn ($7.1bn; £3.7bn) at SocGen. French Prime Minister Francois Fillon confirmed the French government was notified about the fraud on Wednesday, although SocGen had uncovered it several days earlier. French police searched the Paris headquarters of SocGen as part of their investigations.
Thr24Jan08 SocGen announces it has uncovered alledged fraud by a Paris-based trader resulting in a loss of 4.9bn euros ($7.1bn; £3.7bn) through unauthorized trades on European equity markets. It is the biggest loss in banking history.
SocGen do not identify the trader, but media reports allege it is 31-year-old Frenchman Jerome Kerviel."The transactions which involved the fraud were simple - taking a position on shares rising - but hidden using extremely sophisticated and varied techniques," CEO Bouton stated in a customer letter. Mr. Bouton offers his resignation, but it is turned down by the SocGen Board. Mon. Kerviel does not make any statements.
Wed23Jan08 French Finance Minister Christine Legrande hears of the crisis.
Tues22Jan08 US Markets re-open ; more volatile trading.
Mon 21Jan08 – “Bleu Monday” - A bank holiday in USA. European markets fall an average 6%. The world media suggested that SocGen offloaded an estimated €50bn exposure to limit damage. The US Federal Reserve lowers it’s lending rate to 3.5% from 4.25% in an emergency move.