Rogue trader Jerome Kerviel said he feels "crushed by the weight of the punishment," in his first interview after being sentenced to three years in jail. Kerviel was also ordered to repay Societe Generale SA for its €4.9bn trading loss.
Judge Dominique Pauthe yesterday held Kerviel solely responsible for the loss, saying he deceived the bank in amassing €50bn in futures positions.
"I have the feeling like they want to make me pay for all," Kerviel said yesterday. The former trader will remain free pending appeal.
Meanwhile, he will continue working as a computer consultant, a profession he got into after being fired from France's second-largest bank in 2008.
The trading loss, announced Jan 24, 2008, prompted Societe Generale's then-chief executive Daniel Bouton to describe Kerviel as a "terrorist".
The court rejected defence arguments that his superiors knew of his actions and that the bank's decision to unwind the bets over three days of falling markets caused the loss.
The ruling came days after a federal court in Manhattan dismissed a US investor lawsuit over the loss. The court said it lacked jurisdiction because the plaintiffs' shares in the bank were bought abroad, in line with a June ruling by the US Supreme Court.
The plaintiffs' claims the Paris-based bank knew more about Kerviel than it disclosed also "do not give rise to the inference" of knowledge, the US court ruled.
The two favourable decisions close the Kerviel era for the bank, said Pierre Flabbee, a Paris-based analyst at Kepler Capital Markets.
"The story is pretty much behind Societe Generale now," said Mr Flabbee. "There was a period, notably in France, when the rate at which accounts were being opened there was less good, this seems to have ended that," he added.
"Societe Generale learned the lessons of this affair from the outset, and has committed significant human and financial resources to strengthening all of its controls," the bank said in a statement yesterday,