UBS trader 'sorry', faces new fraud charge

22nd September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The trader accused of a $2.3 billion fraud at Swiss bank UBS is "sorry beyond words" over the losses, his lawyer said Thursday, as a court remanded him in custody for another month.

Kweku Adoboli, 31, faced an additional charge of fraud as he made a brief appearance in front of a packed City of London Magistrates' Court but did not enter a plea or appeal for bail.

"He is sorry beyond words for what has happened," defence lawyer Patrick Gibbs told the court.

"He went to UBS and told them what he had done, and stands now appalled at the scale of the consequences of his disastrous miscalculations."

Adoboli, smartly dressed in a dark grey suit and dark blue tie, bowed to the court with his hands over his heart as he entered the courtroom and nodded sombrely to people sitting in the public gallery.

He spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth.

Prosecutor David Levy said Adoboli had been charged with a new count of fraud dating from 2008 to 2010, to add to the existing charge of fraud in 2011 and two charges of false accounting.

One of the fraud charges refers to a sum of at least $1.5 billion, but Levy said the Crown Prosecution Service believes the total sum involved was probably $2.3 billion (1.7 billion euros).

Adoboli's lawyer did not request bail and none was granted. He has not entered a plea but is not required to at this stage in the court proceedings.

Magistrate Alison Gowman remanded Adoboli in custody until October 20 after a ten-minute hearing.

Adoboli, the son of a Ghanaian former United Nations official, worked for UBS's global synthetic equities division in the City of London financial district.

He bought and sold exchange traded funds, which track different types of stocks or commodities such as precious metals.

UBS has accused Adoboli of carrying out "fictitious" trades.

He was arrested at the bank's London offices in the early hours of September 15. Within hours, the bank announced it had lost $2 billion through unauthorised trading, but it later raised the estimated losses to $2.3 billion.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that British regulators were examining multiple cases of possible improper or unauthorised trading at banks in London.

The report, quoting sources familiar with the matter, said the Financial Services Authority watchdog was building cases against individuals suspected of engaging in improper trading.

UBS began a three-day meeting of its board in Singapore on Wednesday as it faces increasing pressure from shareholders over the rogue trading scandal.

Chief executive Oswald Gruebel is expected to seek a vote of confidence during the meeting.

He ruled out a sale of the bank's investment banking division in a separate meeting on Tuesday, Dow Jones Newswires reported, despite pressure from Swiss politicians putting pressure on UBS to scale the division down or even spin it off.

The Singapore meeting had long been scheduled and was being held in the run-up to the Singapore Grand Prix. UBS is a major sponsor of Formula One racing.

On the eve of the meeting the Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC), UBS' biggest shareholder, issued a rare public rebuke of the bank for lapses that led to the losses.

© 2011 AFP

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