UBS ignored rules for profit, says "rogue trader" lawyer

Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:58pm EDT
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(Attention strong language in paragraph 15)

By Estelle Shirbon

LONDON (Reuters) - Managers at Swiss bank UBS UBSN.VX turned a blind eye when traders exceeded their agreed limits as long as the bank was making money from their deals, a lawyer for accused "rogue trader" Kweku Adoboli told a London court on Thursday.

Adoboli, 32, was arrested on September 15, 2011, and is now on trial accused of fraud and false accounting that cost UBS $2.3 billion. He has pleaded not guilty.

Thursday's hearing laid bare the human drama behind the jargon of the trading floor. At one point, Adoboli was in tears at the back of the courtroom under the emotional impact of the evidence that was presented to the jury.

Adoboli heard his lawyer read out long excerpts from his performance appraisals, which described him as an outstanding and popular member of staff with a great future ahead of him on the Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) desk and beyond.

"He could explain ETFs to my Nan (grandmother) and she'd get it," wrote colleague Rob Pienaar in one of the appraisals.

"He's certainly the good cop of the ETFs desk," wrote fellow trader John Hughes, who will appear as a witness in the trial.

Adoboli also had to watch Ronald Greenidge, a former boss with whom he had friendly relations, face a barrage of tricky questions from his own lawyer, Charles Sherrard.   Continued...

Former UBS trader Kweku Adoboli arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London September 20, 2012. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth