December 19, 2018 / 1:02 PM / 3 months ago

French court rules SocGen justified in firing rogue trader Kerviel

PARIS, Dec 19 (Reuters) - A French appeals court ruled on Wednesday that Societe Generale was justified in firing rogue trader Jerome Kerviel, who was sentenced to three years in jail for causing 4.9 billion euros ($5.6 billion) in losses to the bank a decade ago.

The appeals court overturned a 2016 labour court decision stating that the bank did not respect legal proceedings when it fired Kerviel in January 2008 after discovering the losses.

The labour court had ordered Societe Generale to pay 455,000 euros to Kerviel in June 2016, although the bank appealed.

In its Wednesday ruling, the appeals court said Societe Generale had legal motives for firing Kerviel and cancelled the payment he was granted in the labour court.

The latest decision is another defeat for the former trader who has fought unsuccessfully against his former employer in all possible jurisdictions. The 2016 labour court ruling was the only one in his favour in more than a decade of legal battles.

Kerviel, 41, has never denied masking his 50 billion euro trading positions, which resulted in the eventual loss, but contends his managers should have been aware of his actions. SocGen has always rejected this.

The Wednesday ruling is in line with the other decisions issued in the criminal case, the bank said in a statement.

Kerviel’s lawyer, Julien Dami Le Coz, said he is evaluating with his client the possibility of appealing to the country’s highest appeals court.

The former trader served a few months in prison in 2014 before being granted an early release, but has fought unsuccessfully to reverse the conviction up to France’s highest court of appeal. ($1 = 0.8782 euros) (Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry and Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Inti Landauro and Alexander Smith)

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