Accused UBS fraudster was trading floor "star": colleague

Thu Oct 4, 2012 10:28am EDT
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By Estelle Shirbon

LONDON (Reuters) - Kweku Adoboli, the ex-UBS UBSN.VX trader accused of losing the Swiss bank $2.3 billion, was a "star" and his desk was doing "amazingly well" in the months before the debacle, a London court heard on Thursday.

However, Christophe Bertrand, the most junior of the four traders who made up the Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) desk where Adoboli worked, also said the alleged "rogue trader" could be unfriendly and difficult to work with.

Adoboli, 32, was arrested in September 2011, and is on trial at Southwark Crown Court accused of fraud and false accounting, charges he denies.

Bertrand told the court Adoboli and the other senior trader on the ETFs desk, John Hughes, conducted most of the proprietary trading done on the desk and 2011 had started well for them.

He said that as far as he was aware, the desk had made about $70 million in profits in the first half of the year, mostly from proprietary trading, compared with about $15 to $20 million for the whole of the previous year.

"It (the desk) was doing amazingly well," he said. "Other senior traders would come to our desk to ask us for our advice. Everyone knew it was Kweku Adoboli and John Hughes doing the proprietary trading. They were the stars of the trading floor."

The prosecution has presented Adoboli as a "master fraudster" who routinely exceeded risk limits and masked his positions with fictitious hedging trades.

The defense has portrayed him as a hard-working team player who believed his trading and accounting methods were for the good of the bank and of his colleagues.   Continued...

Former UBS trader Kweku Adoboli arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London September 27, 2012. Adoboli is on trial accused of fraud and false accounting that cost the Swiss bank $2.3 billion. He has pleaded not guilty.. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth