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France judges question rogue trader, second banker in massive fraud case

[JURIST] French judges Thursday questioned a trader tied to the alleged French "rogue trader" Jerome Kerviel [BBC profile], who made $73 billion worth of unauthorized trades [AP timeline] while working for French bank Societe Generale [corporate website]. The man, who worked for Societe Generale affiliate Fimat [bank website], was originally questioned [JURIST report] by French authorities earlier this month and has since been named an assisted witness in the case against Kerviel, a designation that allows him to testify in the presence of a lawyer. The judges' questions focused on 1,600 pages of instant messaging texts exchanged between the two men from September 2007 to January 2008. Kerviel was also questioned separately by the judges on Thursday for the third time since he was charged [JURIST report] with forgery, breach of trust, and fraud last month.

Kirviel has been in custody [JURIST report] since February 8 when the Paris appeals court granted a request by prosecutors to hold Kerviel in "provisional detention" to prevent him from fleeing the country or communicating with any possible accomplices during the investigation. Societe Generale, which lost $7 billion when it was forced to unload the fraudulent positions, described the methods Kerviel supposedly used to commit the fraud in an explanatory note [PDF text]. Kerviel has maintained that he acted alone, but also says that he is being made a scapegoat [Telegraph report] by the bank, which he alleges was aware of his activities. Additionally, BusinessWeek reports [text] that the Eurex derivatives exchange [exchange website] warned Societe Generale in November 2007 about Kerviel's unauthorized transactions. AFP has more.

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