Former city student Kweku Adoboli gets seven years for the UK's biggest fraud
A FORMER University of Nottingham student was today starting a seven-year jail term after being convicted of the UK's biggest-ever banking fraud.
Kweku Adoboli gambled away £1.4 billion, nearly bringing Swiss bank UBS to its knees.
At one point the 32-year-old was on the verge of causing losses of $12 billion (£7.5 billion), and the hole he eventually left was the largest trading loss ever in British banking history.
Yesterday, jurors at Southwark Crown Court found him guilty of two counts of fraud, but cleared him of four counts of false accounting.
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Sentencing, Mr Justice Keith told him: "Whatever the verdict of the jury you would forever have been known as the man responsible for the largest trading loss in British banking history."
Adoboli, Clark Street, Whitechapel, east London, wiped away tears as he sat in the dock, following his nine-week trial.
He admitted the enormous losses but claimed that he was pressured by staff to take risks, culminating in a catastrophe that wiped £2.8 billion off the bank's share value.
Mr Justice Keith said: "You are highly intelligent. You are plainly very articulate. And as I told the jury, you appear to have a considerable amount of charm. Your fall from grace as a result of these convictions is spectacular.
"There is a strong streak of the gambler in you. You were arrogant to think the bank's rules for traders did not apply to you."
But he was sceptical that his acquittal on the four charges of false accounting meant he was innocent, only that the jury had doubts over whether he planned to gain financially himself.
Adoboli received seven years for a charge of fraud by abuse of position relating to the £1.4 billion loss, and four years for a second count of the same offence, to run concurrently.
Speaking outside court, Andrew Penhale, deputy head of fraud at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "The amount of money involved was staggering, impacting hugely on the bank but also on their employees, shareholders and investors. This was not a victimless crime."
After the case, UBS said in a statement: "We are glad that the criminal proceedings have reached a conclusion and thank the police and the UK authorities for their professional handling of this case."
Giving evidence, Adoboli had claimed staff were encouraged to take risks until they got "a slap on the back of the wrist".
Charles Sherrard QC, for Adoboli, said the trader "gave his life to UBS" and had been "sorry from day one" for what had happened.
"Most significantly, he has not been found to be driven by greed, ego, reputation or any sinister motive," Mr Sherrard said.