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Alleged $7B Fraud Brings Big Case to French Boutique

Posted Jan 25, 2008 12:07 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Once a record rogue trader fraud of $7 billion is announced by a major bank, a high-profile new representation is clearly on the horizon for some lucky law firm.

In the case of Societe Generale's embarrassing $7 billion alleged loss at the hands of a junior trader with back office expertise, the fortunate firm is the Paris boutique Lussan & Associes, reports Legal Week. Its lead partner on the matter, Francois Martineau, whose practice focuses on banking, business crimes, mergers and acquisitions and insolvency, is advising SocGen on its claim against the trader, Jerome Kerviel.

The bank also filed a formal complaint yesterday against Kerviel with the Nanterre public prosecutor, accusing him of computer fraud, fraudulent falsification of banking records and making use of such records, according to the British publication. Although Kerviel is accused of costing SocGen some $7 billion in trading losses, the bank says he apparently did not personally profit from the illicit trades it accuses him of making.

As discussed in an earlier ABAJournal.com post, the bank says that Kerviel, 31, who worked on its derivatives desk, made bad bets on the future direction of the European securities market by purchasing stock index futures. He allegedly concealed his wrongdoing by hacking into the bank's computer systems, according to the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.).

Other law firms that routinely advise SocGen include a lengthy list of well-known BigLaw names, according to Legal Week. Among them: Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Norton Rose and Linklaters, in the U.K.; French powerhouse Gide Loyrette Nouel; and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Shearman & Sterling and White & Case in the U.S.

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