Rogue Traders: the worst ever


As police in London collar a man, Kweku Adoboli, in connection with alleged $2bn in maverick trading losses at UBS, we take a look back at some of the most catastrophic rogue traders in recent history…

Culprit: Jerome Kerviel

Cost: €4.9bn

When: January 2008

Institution: Societe Generale

Location: Paris

Rogue activity: Convicted for forgery, breach of trust and unauthorized use of the institution’s computers. Kerviel was sentenced to a three years in prison by a French court in October 2010.

Culprit: Brian Hunter

Cost: $6.4bn

When: Spring 2006

Institution: Amaranth Advisors

Location: Greenwich, Connecticut

Rogue activity: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission charged Amaranth and Hunter of attempting to manipulate gas futures prices. Amaranth collapsed after Hunter’s punt on gas futures went catastrophically wrong.

Culprit: Yasuo Hamanaka

Cost: $2.6bn

When: Summer 1996

Institution: Sumitomo Corp

Location: Tokyo

Rogue activity: Unauthorised copper trades, led by Hamanaka, who received an eight-year prison sentence.

Culprit: Nick Leeson

Cost: $1.4bn

When: February 1995

Institution: Barings

Location: Singapore

Rogue activity: Out of control derivatives trading, which led to Barings’ legendary downfall.

Culprit: Unknown

Cost: $2bn

When: Today (September 15)

Institution: UBS

Location: London (unconfirmed)

Rogue activity: City of London police arrest a man in his thirties, Kweku Adoboli, on September 15 “on suspicion of fraud by abuse of position”. UBS shares fall 8 per cent on the announcement that the bank is investigating rogue trading activity.