UBS city trader ‘gambled away’ £1.4bn

Kweku Adoboli arriving at court on 10/9/12
Kweku Adoboli denies charges of false accounting and fraud

A City trader “gambled away” £1.4bn ($2.3bn) of his firm’s money and caused “chaos and disaster”, a jury has heard.

Kweku Adoboli, 32, of Whitechapel, east London, exceeded his trading limits at UBS in a bid to get a bigger bonus and boost his ego, the court was told.

He denies two charges each of false accounting and fraud.

Prosecutor Sasha Wass QC told Southwark Crown Court Mr Adoboli thought he had the “magic touch” but his actions saw the Swiss bank’s share price fall 10%.

Ms Wass said the trader “did all of this by exceeding his trading limits, by inventing fictitious deals to conceal this, and then he lied to his bosses”.

She added: “This colossal loss arose purely as a result of Mr Adoboli’s fraudulent deal making, which amounted, as you will see, to nothing more than gambling.”

Mr Adoboli had been working as a senior trader at UBS’s global synthetic equities branch, buying and selling exchange traded funds, which track different types of stocks, bonds or commodities such as metals.

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He faked bookings, he created false accounts and conducted himself as a master fraudster”

Sasha WassProsecution barrister

His dollar trades took place between October 2008 and September 2011, the court was told.

Ms Wass said Mr Adoboli had been “sucked into the gambler’s mindset” and “started throwing good money after bad”.

The prosecutor said the trading loss was enough to pay a year’s salary for nearly 70,000 new nurses, or two Wembley stadiums or six new hospitals.

Ms Wass said Mr Adoboli had “fraudulently side-stepped” the bank’s rules that banned high risk and unauthorised investments.

“Mr Adoboli had ceased to act as a professional investment banker and had begun to approach his work as a naked gambler. He had become what is sometimes referred to as a rogue trader,” she said.

But the prosecutor said the defendant had gone beyond the behaviour of a “mere rogue trader”, faking records over a two and a half year period.

She said: “He faked bookings, he created false accounts and conducted himself as a master fraudster, deliberately and systematically deceiving and defrauding the bank which was employing him.”

The trial continues.

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