Rogue trader does not de­serve to be de­ported

The Daily Telegraph - - Saturday Comment -

Bri­tain’s big­gest rogue trader is soon to be de­ported from these shores, as­sum­ing there is no last-minute re­prieve.

Kweku Adoboli lost $2 bil­lion of Swiss bank UBS’S money by hid­ing un­hedged trades and se­cretly dou­bling his bets while fran­ti­cally try­ing to make the money back. His crime cost 500 jobs and landed him in jail for three years. Be­cause he’s not Bri­tish – he had per­ma­nent res­i­dence but never ap­plied for cit­i­zen­ship – he will soon be sent to Ghana.

It seems a slam-dunk case. And yet…

Mr Adoboli has lived in the UK since he was 12. He left Ghana aged four with his diplo­mat fa­ther, he barely re­mem­bers the coun­try and con­sid­ers him­self Bri­tish. His crime wasn’t vi­o­lent, he’s cer­tainly not a re­of­fend­ing risk and, since his re­lease from jail, he’s been hired re­peat­edly by banks’ com­pli­ance units to lec­ture traders on how not to be him.

And he would not be the first trader lav­ished with praise on the way up and then cast out, his man­agers dis­ap­pear­ing from the scene, when it went wrong.

None of this ex­cuses the crime, for which serv­ing half of a seven-year sen­tence seems rather lenient to me. The sys­tem prob­a­bly just has to be the free daily news­pa­per City AM and came across a few “vox pops” I had done in the City of Lon­don. The job was to ask sev­eral ran­dom pun­ters a ques­tion and fea­ture them in the pa­per the next day.

One of the ques­tions was about whether the UK ought to con­trib­ute to the cost of bail­ing out Ire­land. Ev­ery­one I had asked had said yes in one way or an­other, but the an­swer given by an in­sur­ance bro­ker named Kelly jumped out at me: “Yes, we should help to bail them out,” she said, “be­cause I’m sure they would help us out if we needed it.”

Fast for­ward eight years to Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions… Thanks, Ire­land!

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