French rogue trader Jerome Kerviel wins conditional release

8th September 2014, Comments 0 comments

Jerome Kerviel, the French rogue trader who brought one of Europe's biggest banks to the verge of ruin with nearly five billion euros in losses, left prison Monday after winning conditional release.

Under the terms of his release, Kerviel, 37, will be obliged to wear an electronic tagging bracelet at all times and stay at home every workday evening.

He left Fleury Merogis prison, south of Paris, after less than five months following his high-profile conviction and imprisonment for breach of trust, forgery and entering false data.

"I am super happy to leave today ... I want to rebuild my life. I want to have a normal life with my loved ones, start a family and finally be able to enjoy life," Kerviel told reporters as he left the prison.

"Today is a day of immense joy for us. Immense joy," said Kerviel's lawyer David Koubbi.

The ex-trader brought banking giant Societe Generale to its knees in 2008 with wildly risky trades of up to 50 billion euros on derivatives -- betting on the market direction.

Kerviel became something of a cause celebre in France and overseas with many saying he had been set up as a scapegoat for the failings of the wider financial system.

The trader himself said he was ashamed of his former profession and embarked on a two-month trek through Italy to protest the "tyranny of the markets," even winning an audience with Pope Francis.

Kerviel will have to wear the bracelet until June 26 next year and his movements are restricted. He must be at home between 8:30 pm and 07:00am between Monday to Friday.

His lawyer has said previously Kerviel has secured a job at an IT consultancy firm and hopes to resume "a completely normal life."

Kerviel never denied making huge gambles. "My daily existence was about making money for the bank. That was my only objective, at any price, regardless of all moral or ethical considerations," he said before.

Despite dealing in such vast sums of money, he was on a relatively modest 50,000-euro basic salary when the scandal erupted in January 2008.

He lived in an unremarkable, small suburban flat and took the train to Brittany in the holidays to visit his widowed mother.

"I am an ordinary person. I'm not crazy," he said during investigations into the scandal.

"I didn't earn millions (in salary) and I didn't drive a Porsche."

© 2014 AFP

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