Societe Generale rogue trader questioned anew

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Judges questioned for a fourth time the rogue trader charged in the seven-billion-dollar scandal at Societe Generale.

   PARIS, February 28, 2008 - French judges Wednesday questioned for a fourth
time the rogue trader charged in the seven-billion-dollar scandal at Societe
Generale, sources close to the case said.
   A lawyer for 31-year-old Jerome Kerviel, 31, offered no details on the
   Charged with breach of trust, fabricating documents and illegally accessing
computers, Kerviel is being held in custody during the investigation into what
Societe Generale says were unauthorised trades worth at least 50 billion euros
-- or more than the leading French bank's own capital.
   The scandal led to a 3.35-billion-euro (4.9-billion-dollar) loss in the
fourth quarter of 2007, the French bank said.
   But in a report published last week, a special committee appointed by
Societe Generale also exposed failures in the bank's internal controls.
   In an interview with the French financial newspaper Les Echos, a lawyer for
Kerviel, Elisabeth Meyer, said she was surprised the committee apparently did
not question whether the bank's internal treasury system had been monitored.
   "That's the major item absent in this document. That is, to ask whether for
two-and-a-half years, someone had controlled the treasury of Society
Generale," and was therefore able to monitor cash entries and losses resulting
from Kerviel's trading, Meyer said.
   The bank had already amassed 500 million euros last July and another 1.4
billion at the end of December, the Figaro daily reported, before discovering
the fraud and shedding billions as it scrambled to staunch the losses.
   French President Nicolas Sarkozy has also suggested the bank should
shoulder more of the blame for its losses, sharply criticising its chairman
Daniel Bouton.
   "When the president of a company sees losses of that magnitude and does not
draw conclusions from it, that's not normal," Sarkozy told Le Parisien
newspaper in an interview published Tuesday.
   Bouton has vowed to stay on as head of the French bank, saying two previous
resignation offers were "no longer on the table."


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