TIL that Jerome Kerviel was the world’s most indebted man, owning $6.3 billion dollars to the Société Générale.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%A9r%C3%B4me_Kerviel

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  1. > Bank officials claim that throughout 2007, he had been trading profitably in anticipation of falling market prices; however, they have accused him of exceeding his authority to engage in unauthorized trades totaling as much as €49.9 billion, a figure far higher than the bank’s total market capitalization […] His employers say they uncovered unauthorized trading traced to Kerviel on 19 January 2008.

    And nobody even noticed (until he started losing money to the bank instead of making money for it with those unauthorized trades, that is)? Yeah, I’m not sure I buy it, and apparently I’m not the only one:

    > Though SocGen officials say Kerviel apparently worked alone, skeptics question how unauthorized trading of this magnitude could go unnoticed. Kerviel’s unassuming background and position have heightened the skepticism that he worked alone. Some analysts suggest that unauthorised trading of this scale may have gone unnoticed initially due to the high volume in low-risk trades normally conducted by his department. […] Kerviel’s lawyers, Elisabeth Meyer and Christian Charrière-Bournazel, said that SocGen’s managers “brought the loss on themselves”; accused them of wanting to “raise a smokescreen to divert public attention from far more substantial losses in the last few months”; and said that Kerviel had made the bank a profit of US$2 billion as of 31 December 2007

    As long as the bank was making money off those “unauthorized” trades, *somehow* it did not notice; and then, when the bank started losing money, he was found and blamed for everything.

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