UBS ‘Rogue Trader’ Did Not Act Alone, Lawyers Says


LONDON (Reuters) – Kweku Adoboli, a “rogue trader” accused of bringing UBS to the brink of collapse, learnt his behaviour from colleagues at the Swiss bank who later “stabbed him in the back”, his defence lawyer told a London court on Thursday.

Adoboli, 32, was arrested on September 15, 2011. He is now on trial for fraud and false accounting that cost the Swiss bank $2.3 billion. He has pleaded not guilty.

His lawyer Charles Sherrard told Southwark Crown Court that Adoboli’s three colleagues on the Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) desk had actively taken part in some of the fraudulent behaviour he is accused of.

He said they had later “stabbed him in the back and left him to bleed on the prison floor” after he ran into trouble.

Sherrard said Adoboli had learnt some of his ways, such as the use of an illicit “umbrella” account to disguise his true trading position, from others in UBS and that there had been, and perhaps still were, other “secret books” within the Swiss bank’s trading accounts.

Prosecutors say Adoboli was an “out of control” rogue trader who had abused the bank’s trust in him for personal gain, while his defence team have argued UBS turned a blind eye to rule-breaking as long as it made the bank money.

The court has previously from former bosses of Adoboli who said they were unaware of the trader’s activities until he confessed to unauthorised deals the day before his arrest.

One of his colleagues on the ETF desk John Hughes told the court on Tuesday he had reported Adoboli to his manager for exceeding his trading limits.

Hughes also said he felt stupid for not telling bank bosses about the “umbrella” account Adoboli used to hide his unauthorised trades.

(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon and Michael Holden; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)