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Rogue trader's apprentice under investigation

'Complicit' in €4.9bn SocGen fraud

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The assistant of rogue trader Jerome Kerviel is being investigated for complicity in his former boss' trading scandal that cost one of France's largest banks billions of euros.

Thomas Mougard was charged Friday as an "assisted witness," in the case — a legal status for witnesses who may be implicated themselves.

He is accused of "knowingly helping Jerome Kerviel to record fictitious operations" at the bank in 2007 and early 2008. The filing gives officials times to investigate and later decide to drop charges or go trial.

The French bank Société Générale said it lost a staggering €4.9bn (£3.9bn, $7.6bn) when Kerviel manipulated the bank's trading systems to cover risky and unauthorized positions in the derivatives market.

Investigators have already filed preliminary charges against Kerviel for forgery, breach of trust and illegally accessing the bank's computers.

An internal investigation by SocGen released to the public in May said it found "signs of internal complicity" by Mougard.

Kerviel admits to gaming the system, but claims his managers knew of his dealings and never stopped him so long as he was making money for the bank. His lawyers assert that SocGen was in fact responsible for the colossal losses after higher-ups "took the decision to unwind Mr. Kerviel's positions as shares were tumbling on the world's markets in January."

Kerviel is presently free on bail pending trial. In April, he scored himself a new IT job as a computer consultant after the judge in his case changed the condition of his release so he could take the post. ®

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