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Bosses 'condoned' SocGen trader

  • Story Highlights
  • Jerome Kerviel's lawyer says Soc Gen bosses "condoned" his client's trades
  • Lawyer claims that with disparity in Kerviel's accounts, supervisors must have known
  • Societe Generale blames Kerviel fraud for losses of more than $7.2 billion
  • Kerviel charged with abuse of confidence and illegal use of computers but not fraud
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PARIS, France (CNN) -- A lawyer for the French trader accused of massive fraud at Societe Generale said bank bosses "condoned" his client's trades, contradicting bank statements that the trader acted on his own.

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Jerome Kerviel's lawyer claims Societe Generale's bosses knew what he was up to.

In an interview with CNN this week, lawyer Guillaume Selnet did not deny that Jerome Kerviel was conducting large trades. But he said Kerviel's accounts were more than €2 billion in the red last June and finished the year more than €1 billion in the black -- and with those kinds of numbers, he said, Kerviel's supervisors must have known what he was up to.

Societe Generale announced trading losses last month of more than $7.2 billion, which it attributed to fraud by Kerviel, who traded European index futures for the bank.

"When you find that the bank condoned what Jerome did for more than two and a half years, I don't really know if you can still state that he acted alone," Selnet told CNN.

Kerviel has been charged with abuse of confidence and illegal use of computers but has not been charged with fraud. He faces up to three years in prison.

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Kerviel is behind bars while investigators probe the giant losses. His attorneys want him released on bail, saying he is cooperating with the investigation.

"Jerome is a smart trader, but not smarter than any other guy at SocGen," Selnet said. "And that fact that SocGen acted so strongly in order to send him to jail demonstrates that they need to single him out as a magician in order not to have a discussion about their wrong responsibilities in this case."

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In addition to a criminal investigation, there are ongoing probes by the French banking regulatory commission and French senate finance committee.

Societe Generale stockholders also have filed suit against the bank. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Jim Bittermann contributed to this report.

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