PARIS - French police on Saturday detained accused rogue trader Jerome Kerviel and investigators said the junior dealer wanted to explain his role in the seven billion dollar loss at Societe Generale.
French police on Saturday detained accused rogue trader Jerome Kerviel and investigators said the junior dealer wanted to explain his role in the seven billion dollar loss at Societe Generale. [Agencies]
The 31-year-old Kerviel, who has not been seen since the finance industry's biggest fraud losses were revealed on Thursday, is being held for questioning, police said.
Kerviel "presented himself voluntarily to police. He is still in custody. He is cooperating and is ready to explain himself," Jean-Michel Aldebert, head of the Paris prosecutor's finance section, told journalists.
Kerviel arrived in a police van at the Paris police finance brigade headquarters on Saturday afternoon. He can be held for 24 hours but prosecutors can ask for a 24 hour extension. Prosecutors promised more details on Sunday.
Police investigating Societe Generale's claims that the trader was responsible for a 4.9 billion euro (7.15 billion dollar) fraud went to the bank's headquarters on Friday and took away computer discs and other evidence.
They also took away documents from Kerviel's apartment in a wealthy Paris suburb.
Societe Generale has filed a criminal complaint alleging the use of falsified documents and unauthorised computer access.
The man's family and lawyer have insisted he is innocent.
While the bank has in turn faced mounting questions about how one relatively junior member of staff could have lost such a huge sum without being noticed, the case has stunned international markets already reeling from the US subprime mortgage crisis. Societe Generale revealed that it had also lost two billion euros in subprime deals.
On an official visit to India, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Saturday for greater "transparency" on financial markets.
He said the financial system had "lost sight of its purpose," denouncing operations which can produce "gigantic profits" as well as "gigantic losses" in a few hours.
The head of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, has called for tighter self-regulation by banks after the scandal.
Societe Generale chairman Daniel Bouton has faced a storm of criticism over the case and he has been forced to deny that the bank had tried to hide losses from other bad deals in the Kerviel case.
In an interview with Le Figaro daily, Bouton also denied that the bank's management had made strategic errors which led to the loss.