Judge sums up in trial of Whitechapel ‘rogue trader’

18:17 13 November 2012

Adoboli was on trial at Southwark Crown Court. Picture: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

Adoboli was on trial at Southwark Crown Court. Picture: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

Jurors in the trial of a Whitechapel banker accused of gambling away £1.4million will have to decide whether his actions were dishonest by the standards of “sensible and honest people”, a judge has declared.

Kweku Adoboli, 32, of Clark Street, is accused of two counts of fraud and four counts of false accounting between October 2008 and September 2011, which he denies.

The alleged offences wiped £2.8 billion off the Swiss bank’s share value, Southwark Crown Court has heard.

At one point he was at risk of causing the bank losses of $12billion (£7.5 billion).

Summing up evidence heard over the eight-week trial today, Mr Justice Keith told the jury that the defendant’s claim he was trying to make profit for the bank, rather than for personal gain, did not mean they could rule out he was acting dishonestly.

He said: “Mr Adoboli says that he thought that what he doing was not dishonest because, as he put it, his intent was not dishonest, his intent being to make a profit for the bank.

“If that is the case does that mean that he must be acquitted (of fraud)? The answer to that question is no.

“What the law requires you to do in order to determine the question whether Mr Adoboli acted dishonestly is to consider whether he would have realised at the time what he was doing would be regarded as dishonest by the standards of sensible and honest people.”

Prosecutors claim that in a bid to boost his status and bonuses Adoboli exceeded his trading limits and failed to hedge trades, faking records to cover his tracks.

But he denies any wrongdoing, saying he was pressured by senior managers to take risks.

Mr Justice Keith has told jurors that Adoboli may have had “more than one reason” for his actions.

“The difficulty here is that when people do things, they often have more than one reason for doing them,” he said.

“It may therefore be difficult for you to say that what motivated Mr Adoboli was solely his desire to maximise profits for the bank, or that what motivated Mr Adoboli was solely his desire to increase his bonus and his prospects for advancement within the bank.

“Things are never that black and white.”

Adoboli worked for UBS’s global synthetic equities division, buying and selling exchange traded funds (ETFs) which track different types of stocks, bonds or commodities such as metals.

The case was adjourned to tomorrow for the judge to complete his summing up of the evidence.

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