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France

Kerviel trial ends, defence blames Société Générale

Reuters

The trial of Jérôme Kerviel ended Friday, with the defence asking the court not to believe that the trader could lose nearly five billion euros without his bank, Société Générale, being aware of his activities. The defence said the French bank knew of the trader's actions, but turned a blind eye as long as profits were being made.

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Thirty-three-year-old Kerviel allegedly bet over 50 billion euros of the bank's money without its knowledge, and was accused of forgery, breach of trust and unauthorised computer use.

But Olivier Metzner, Kerviel's lawyer, claimed it would have taken "one or two clicks" in the bank's databases to see details of of Kerviel's activities.

In his final plea for the defendant, Metzner asked the court to use its "common sense" in its judgement.

"Perhaps he disobeyed a little too much," Metzner said.

But he claimed Société Générale moulded Karviel to be the trader that he was, and closed with a quote by the economist John Galbraith: "When everyone wins, no one notices, but when everyone loses, someone must be blamed."

The prosecution, however, had sought to protray Kerviel as a "manipulator, liar and cheater."

"You cannot blame the victim of a break-in for not having a dog," said the prosecuter.

The highly-publicised three-week trial featured complex financial jargon, nine-figure amounts and an unresolved query into the personality of the young trader.

The judgement and sentence will be delivered on 5 October.

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