• France's news in English

Rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel leaves prison

AFP · 8 Sep 2014, 08:48

Published: 08 Sep 2014 08:48 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Under the terms of his release, Kerviel, 37, will be obliged to wear an electronic tagging bracelet at all times and stay at home every workday evening.

He left Fleury Merogis prison, south of Paris, after less than five months following his high-profile conviction and imprisonment for breach of trust, forgery and entering false data.

"I am super happy to leave today ... I want to rebuild my life. I want to have a normal life with my loved ones, start a family and finally be able to enjoy life," Kerviel told reporters as he left the prison.

He said he "couldn't wait to phone" his mother, who he said had broken down when the prosecutor launched an appeal against his conditional release.

He also paid tribute to the prison staff during his isolation in prison and said his time spent behind bars had been in some ways "enriching" and had changed his view of the penal system.

"I am super happy to leave today. It will be easier -- for me of course and for my loved ones -- and easier to work on the case, to continue this fight," the ex-trader said.

Wearing an electronic bracelet is "always better than being shut up" in a nine-metre square cell, said the ex-trader, unshaven and wearing a white T-shirt under a black pullover.

'Immense joy'

"Today is a day of immense joy for us. Immense joy," said Kerviel's lawyer David Koubbi, who told reporters the "fight" against Kerviel's former employer Societe Generale would continue.

"It's true that an electronic bracelet is a constraint but it's not the same constraint as being here," he said.

Kerviel brought banking giant Societe Generale to its knees in 2008 with wildly risky trades of up to 50 billion euros ($66 billion) on derivatives -- betting on the market direction.

Kerviel became something of a cause celebre in France and overseas with many saying he had been set up as a scapegoat for the failings of the wider financial system.

The trader himself said he was ashamed of his former profession and embarked on a two-month trek through Italy to protest the "tyranny of the markets," even winning an audience with Pope Francis.

Kerviel will have to wear the bracelet until June 26 next year and his movements are restricted. He must be at home between 8:30pm and 07:00am between Monday to Friday.

His lawyer has previously said that Kerviel had secured a job at an IT consultancy firm and hoped to resume "a completely normal life."

Story continues below…

Kerviel never denied making huge gambles. "My daily existence was about making money for the bank. That was my only objective, at any price, regardless of all moral or ethical considerations," he said before he was imprisoned.

Despite dealing in such vast sums of money, he was on a relatively modest €50,000 basic salary when the scandal erupted in January 2008.

He lived in an unremarkable, small suburban flat and took the train to Brittany in the holidays to visit his widowed mother.

"I am an ordinary person. I'm not crazy," he said during investigations into the scandal.

"I didn't earn millions (in salary) and I didn't drive a Porsche."

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

France sees biggest drop in jobless rate for 20 years
Photo: AFP

Good news at last. But it's unlikely to keep President François Hollande in his job.

Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available