VENTURES AFRICA – Ghanaian-born ex-UBS bank trader Kweku Adoboli has been found guilty of two counts of fraud and sentenced to seven years imprisonment bringing to an end the high-profile court case.
According to the verdict of the jury announced yesterday, Adoboli was acquitted of four counts of false accounting – for which it needed to be proven that his actions were aimed at achieving personal financial gains – but was found guilty of two counts of fraud, for having caused the Swiss Bank $2.3 billion in losses; the largest banking fraud in British history.
Sentenced to seven years in prison, – three years for one conviction, and seven years for the second conviction, to be served concurrently – Adoboli will have to serve at least half of the sentence, whereafter he will be released on licence.
In his sentencing remarks, the judge, Mr. Justice Keith, told Adoboli: “…whatever the verdicts of the jury would have been, you would forever have been known as the man who was responsible for the largest trading loss in British banking history.”
The judge went on to consider Adoboli’s personal history, telling the ex-trader – who was offered a position at the banking giant immediately on leaving university based on his early academic excellence -: “I am not saying that you come from a privileged background, but you had some advantages that other people do not enjoy. In addition, you had your own natural talents. You are highly intelligent. You are plainly very articulate. And as I told the jury, you appear to have a considerable amount of charm.”
As such, he added: “Your fall from grace as a result of these convictions is spectacular.”
While both the jury and the judge accepted that Adoboli did not cause the losses deliberately or with the hope of personal gains, he nonetheless took excessive risks and went on to hide them through a chain of fictitious transaction records, in behaviour resembling of a gambling addict, said the court.
The judge concluded that Adoboli’s unrealistic views of his own behaviour are extensive, saying: “The fact is that you are profoundly unselfconscious of your own failings. There is the strong streak of the gambler in you, borne out by your personal trading. You were arrogant enough to think that the bank’s rules for traders did not apply to you. And you denied that you were a rogue trader, claiming that at all times you were acting in the bank’s interests, while conveniently ignoring that the real characteristic of the rogue trader is that he ignores the rules designed to manage risk.”