French "rogue trader" Jerome Kerviel was ordered Friday to pay 1.0 million euros (US$1.12 million) to his former employer Societe Generale, which lost 4.9 billion euros through his disastrous risk-taking.
The appeals court in Versailles, outside Paris, could order 39-year-old Kerviel to cover the entire sum, part of it, or not a single euro.
In one of the biggest ever trading fraud cases, Kerviel was sentenced to three years in prison for almost bringing down the bank with dubious financial operations just before the financial market meltdown in 2008.
Kerviel has said his managers were aware of his risky operations, which had initially earned the bank 1.4 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in 2007, weeks before turning sour in early 2008. That was despite the shock in global markets in January 2008, when Societe Generale disclosed that Kerviel, then a junior trader on its derivatives desk, had managed to make 50 billion euros, or $56 billion, in unauthorized trades.
In addition, Kerviel's bid for a criminal re-trial is on hold after judges at France's court of review and reassessment said in March they want to wait for inquiries into the use of forged documents, witness subordination and obtaining a ruling under false pretenses to run their course.
The case "used to be about 4.9 billion euros".
'Rogue trader' Kerviel must pay damages of 1 million euros
The initial amount of damages equivalent to the total losses reported by the bank in the fraud is so huge that Kerviel wouldn't be able to pay them anyway.
But Kerviel claims he was the victim of a dysfunctional banking system, where his superiors knew about his trading and covered for him.
While Kerviel never had any realistic hope of paying the original fine, that the court put most of the onus on the bank is of more than academic interest for Societe Generale. Veil, its lawyer, said "it is ruled out" that the bank pay back the tax deduction to the state.
More court drama is expected in Kerviel's legal saga, which has captured the national imagination.
Former trader Jerome Kerviel, center, waits with his lawyers, background, in the Versailles appeal court, west of Paris, Friday, Sept. 23, 2016.
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