Rogue trader jailed for UK's biggest fraud warns it could happen again

Mon Aug 1, 2016 7:49am EDT
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By Estelle Shirbon

LONDON (Reuters) - Kweku Adoboli, the rogue trader jailed in 2012 for the biggest fraud in British history, has said his crimes could be repeated because bankers still faced the same pressure to make profits "no matter what".

A star trader on the Exchange Traded Funds desk at UBS's London office, Adoboli lost the Swiss bank $2.3 billion after trading far in excess of his authorized risk limits and booking fictitious hedging trades to hide his true exposure.

He was given a seven-year jail term in November 2012 and was released from prison last year. He has been banned from working in financial services but speaks about his experiences for free at banking compliance conferences.

"I think it could absolutely happen again," he said in interviews with the BBC broadcast on Monday.

"The young people I've spoken to, former colleagues I have spoken to, are still struggling with the same issues, the same conflicts, the same pressures to achieve no matter what."

During his trial, Adoboli said everything he did was to make profits for UBS and was in line with the bank's culture, but prosecutors said he told elaborate lies to cover up his reckless and fraudulent trading. After 11 weeks of evidence, a jury convicted him of two counts of fraud.

UBS was fined 30 million pounds ($40 million) for systems and control failures and the trial was embarrassing for the bank, but the jury rejected Adoboli's argument that he had been tacitly authorized to break the rules to make profits.

"I accept I was found guilty of a crime that had dishonesty central to it," said Adoboli, now 36.   Continued...

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