SocGen rogue trader Kerviel launches final appeal

Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:21pm EDT
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By Lionel Laurent and Thierry Lévêque

PARIS (Reuters) - Former Societe Generale (SOGN.PA: Quote) trader Jerome Kerviel said on Wednesday he would make a final appeal to the French Supreme Court against a three-year jail sentence for his role in the nation's biggest rogue-trading scandal.

Kerviel announced he would go to France's highest court after losing his first attempt to overturn the sentence for taking huge, risky bets that cost the bank 4.9 billion euros ($6.35 billion) and hit its reputation.

Earlier in the day, the Paris appeals court upheld his 2010 conviction and demanded Kerviel repay SocGen the billions lost, potentially a life-time claim on part of his earnings.

"Without hesitation, I will call for a review of the ruling," the 35-year-old told RTL radio. Kerviel said he was shocked by the appeals judge's decision as he had hoped to be acquitted after a four-year legal battle.

The Supreme Court will rule only on whether procedures were properly followed in the previous rulings, rather than on the merits of the case. However, Kerviel cannot be put behind bars before it passes judgment.

Several outside observers said Kerviel's appeal would delay the start of his sentence for one or two years but it was difficult to see how the conviction would be overturned.

"The Kerviel affair is pretty much over for the financial community ... The appeals court has confirmed the initial verdict and the chances of the Supreme Court cancelling it are slim," said Hubert de Vauplane, a partner at Kramer Levin.

FAILED APPEAL   Continued...

Former Societe Generale trader Jerome Kerviel arrives at the Paris court for the verdict in his appeal trial October 24, 2012. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes