‘Rogue trader’ trial: Jury starts second day of deliberations

10:47 15 November 2012

The jury in the trial of alleged rogue trader Kweku Adoboli has started a second day of deliberations. Picture: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

The jury in the trial of alleged rogue trader Kweku Adoboli has started a second day of deliberations. Picture: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

Jurors in the trial of a city trader accused of gambling away £1.4billion have started a second day of deliberations.

Kweku Adoboli, 32, from Whitechapel, is charged with fraud and false accounting over the losses to UBS, which wiped £2.8billion off the Swiss bank’s share value.

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

Sasha Wass QC, for the prosecution, told jurors Adoboli was “a gamble or two away from destroying Switzerland’s largest bank for his own gain”.

She said: “He did all of this by exceeding his trading limits, by inventing fictitious deals to conceal this and then he lied to his bosses.

“Mr Adoboli’s motive for this behaviour was to increase his bonus, his status within the bank, his job prospects and of course his ego.

“Like most gamblers, he believed he had the magic touch. Like most gamblers, when he lost, he caused chaos and disaster to himself and all of those around him.”

At one point he was at risk of causing the bank losses of 12 billion US dollars (£7.5billion), Southwark Crown Court heard during the trial.

But the Ghanaian-born former public schoolboy told jurors everything he did was aimed at benefiting the bank, where he viewed his colleagues as “family”.

Adoboli said he “lost control in the maelstrom of the financial crisis”, and was doing well until he changed from a conservative “bearish” position to an aggressive “bullish” stance under pressure from senior managers.

Describing the moment when he began to make serious losses as European markets crashed in July last year, he said: “The real problem was a result of the pressure to flip my position from short to long. This broke my control.

“I absolutely lost control, I was no longer in control of the decisions around the trades we were doing.”

Adoboli claimed staff were encouraged to take risks until they got “a slap on the back of the wrist”.

He told the court: “We were told to go for it, we went for it. We were told to push the boundaries, so we pushed the boundaries.

“We were told you wouldn’t know where the limit of the boundary was until you got a slap on the back of the wrist.

“We found that boundary, we found the edge, we fell off and I got arrested.”

Adoboli, of Clark Street, 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.

He is accused of two counts of fraud and four counts of false accounting between October 2008 and September 2011, which he denies.

During his summing up of the evidence, Mr Justice Keith asked jurors to decide whether Adoboli acted dishonestly “by the standards of sensible and honest people” when considering the fraud charges.

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