A rogue trader from east London who lost £1.4 billion in bad deals which nearly brought down a major international bank has been found guilty of fraud.
At one point during his run of losses, rising star City trader Kweku Adoboli, 32, stood to run up losses of 12 billion US dollars (£7.5 billion) for employer UBS.
The Ghanaian-born former public schoolboy exceeded his multimillion-pound trading limits and failed to hedge trades, allegedly faking records to cover his tracks at the Swiss bank’s London office.
He admitted the losses but claimed that he was pressured by staff to take risks, culminating in bad deals which wiped £2.8 billion off the bank’s share value when they were discovered.
The jury at Southwark Crown Court, in London, convicted him of one count of fraud linked to the £1.4 billion loss.
The panel is still deliberating on one further count of fraud and four counts of false accounting between October 2008 and September last year.
Trial judge Mr Justice Keith gave the jury a majority verdict direction this morning, saying they could deliver a 9-1 verdict on the remaining five charges.
The jury has been reduced to five men and five women after two jurors were discharged.
Adoboli joined UBS as a graduate trainee in 2003 and, at the time of the fraud, worked for its global synthetic equities division, buying and selling exchange traded funds (ETFs), which track different types of stocks, bonds or commodities such as metals.
The prosecution argued that he was a gambler who believed he had the ‘magic touch’.
But, giving evidence, he said everything he had done was aimed at benefiting the bank, where he viewed his colleagues as ‘family’.
Adoboli said he had ‘lost control in the maelstrom of the financial crisis’, and was doing well until he changed from a conservative ‘bearish’ position to an aggressive ‘bullish’ stance under pressure from senior managers.
He told the jury that staff were encouraged to take risks until they got ‘a slap on the back of the wrist’.