Ex-UBS Trader Adoboli Given One-Month Delay to Offer Plea
By Lindsay Fortado, Ben Moshinsky and Kit Chellel – Nov 22, 2011 6:59 AM ET
Kweku Adoboli, a former UBS AG (UBSN) trader, was given a four-week delay to enter a plea to charges he caused the largest unauthorized trading loss in U.K. history.
Adoboli was remanded into custody at a hearing in London today until another hearing, around Dec. 20. The 31-year-old, who holds a Ghanaian passport, didn’t apply for bail when he appeared at Southwark Crown Court in London.
His legal team needs more time to gain a “better understanding of exactly what it was that preceded the calamitous losses” at UBS, his lawyer, Patrick Gibbs, said.
Adoboli has been in custody since Sept. 15 when UBS asked London police to arrest him for causing a $2.3 billion loss. The case has led to the departures of Chief Executive Officer Oswald Gruebel and the co-heads of the Swiss bank’s global equities business. UBS has also said it suspended some front office staff pending further discipline.
Judge Alistair McCreath granted the four-week adjournment, saying the defendant, who wore a grey suit, white shirt and blue tie to court, could use the time to “be advised as to the future conduct of this case.”
British and Swiss finance regulators are investigating the control failures at UBS that allowed the unauthorized trades to go undetected.
The losses came from trading in Standard & Poor’s 500 (SPX), DAX and EuroStoxx index futures, according to the Zurich-based bank. The risk from the trades was masked by fictitious positions, UBS has said. Adoboli, who worked for UBS’s investment bank, also falsified records on exchange-traded-fund transactions, prosecutors have said.
Adoboli is being held at Wandsworth prison in southwest London. The hearing today was the first at Southwark Crown Court, where the case was transferred to from the City of London Magistrates Court.
If convicted, he faces as many as 10 years in prison, according to sentencing guidelines. Time spent in custody beforehand would be deducted from any sentence.
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