Whitechapel ‘rogue trader’ guilty of UK’s biggest bank fraud

11:36 20 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

A Whitechapel city trader accused of gambling away £1.4 billion of UBS’s money has been convicted of two counts of fraud.

"This was the UK’s biggest fraud, committed by one of the most sophisticated fraudsters the City of London Police has ever come across."

DCI Perry Stokes, City of London Police

Kweku Adoboli, 32, who was on trial at Southwark Crown Court, was cleared of four remaining charges of false accounting between October 2008 and September 2011.

At one point the rising star, of Clark Street, stood to run up losses of $12billion (£7.5 billion) for UBS.

The Ghanaian-born former public schoolboy exceeded his multi million-pound trading limits and failed to hedge trades, allegedly faking records to cover his tracks at the Swiss bank’s London office.

He admitted the losses but claimed that he was pressured by staff to take risks, culminating in bad deals which wiped £2.8 billion off the bank’s share value when they were discovered.

Trial judge Mr Justice Keith gave the jury a majority verdict direction this morning, saying they could deliver a 9-1 verdict on the remaining five charges.

The jury has been reduced to five men and five women after two jurors were discharged.

Adoboli joined UBS as a graduate trainee in 2003 and, at the time of the fraud, worked for its global synthetic equities division, buying and selling exchange traded funds (ETFs), which track different types of stocks, bonds or commodities such as metals.

The prosecution argued that he was a gambler who believed he had the “magic touch”.

But, giving evidence, he said everything he had done was aimed at benefiting the bank, where he viewed his colleagues as “family”.

Adoboli claimed he had “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.

Detective Chief Inspector Perry Stokes, from the City of London Police, which investigated Adoboli, said: “This was the UK’s biggest fraud, committed by one of the most sophisticated fraudsters the City of London Police has ever come across.

“To all those around him, Kweku Adoboli appeared to be a man on the make whose career prospects and future earnings were taking off.

“He worked hard, looked the part and seemingly had an answer for everything.

“But behind this facade lay a trader who was running completely out of control and exposing UBS to huge financial risks on a daily basis.

“Rules put in place to protect the bank’s position and the integrity of the markets were being bypassed and broken by a young man who wanted it all and was not willing to wait.

“When Adoboli’s pyramid of fictitious trades, exceeded trading limits and non-existent hedging came crashing down, the repercussions were felt in financial centres around the world.

“Now, just a year on, he is facing the reality that he was not above the law and will be made to pay for his crimes.

“Others who tread a similar path to his can expect the same fate.”

Latest Stories

The twins, who spend most of their day latched onto dad, have been named Winnie and Piglet by zookeepers ahead of this weekend’s Winnie the bear celebration at the Little Creatures family festival.

These two new arrivals, born just in time for a weekend celebrating the bear who inspired Winnie the Pooh, have been given some very apt names.

Read more
15:14
Police were called to the house of Sam Taylor Wood, seen here with husband Aaron Taylor Johnson at the European premiere of 'Godzilla' in Leicester Square in May, after the machine gun was spotted through a window  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Sam Taylor-Johnson got a visit from the firearms squad last night after a spotter-by noticed a machine gun in her house and called the police.

Read more
Firearms officers arrested the suspect

Members of the public helped to thwart an attempted armed robbery in Whitechapel yesterday.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

Amy Winehouse's second album became a classic

Are you an Amy Winehouse superfan?

Read more
I'm only going to say this once: Stand. On. The. Right.

James Bond is Britain’s most famous secret agent, and the capital is its most famous city, so it makes sense that 007 would live and work here when he isn’t gallivanting around the world.

Read more
Can you find the animals hiding in London station names? (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

You may not realise it but there are animals hiding in stations across London? Play our quiz and see if you can you find them:

Read more