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 from SNAP.PA

No, us neither – but best-selling author Patrick Woodhead has.

Read more

Now experts have been called in to help it get back to water.

Read more

The stars of Derek say the Channel 4 show polarises opinion.

Read more

Promoted content

We've got a great selection of Secret Santa presents and stocking fillers for under a tenner...  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Office Secret Santa: it’s a Christmas ritual that everyone dreads, but no-one wants to seem like a Scrooge by saying no. Never fear, London24 is here to make buying gifts for Dave in Accounts simple and stress-free, with a selection of presents for under a tenner

Money saving Christmas gifts to add to your shopping list!

It’s nearly time to go on the hunt for Christmas presents, stuck on what to get for your nearest and dearest? We’ve picked out a selection of great deals to get you started and to help you save some pennies!

Now experts have been called in to help it get back to water.

From the Earth’s elliptical orbit to the scheduling of Christmas, the winter solstice is as scientifically complex as it is culturally significant.

The introduction of the Genomic Medicine Centres is seen a a genetic revolution in the NHS, but why?

Ahhh… When did the 1990s become the “good old days”?

Quirky London