Back in September 2008, I wrote here about the latest twist in the saga of Jérôme Kerviel -- a comic book (see below) created to recount the incredible story of the then-31-year old junior trader who nearly brought down French bank, Société Générale, with his rogue trading. You may recall that Kerviel was charged with and found guilty of "betting 50 billion euros of the French bank's money without its knowledge, leading to losses of nearly 5 billion euros" (worth roughly $7.2 billion at the time of the trading in 2008).

Well, maybe it is time for "Le Journal de Jérôme Kerviel, Part Deux?" Eight years later, the Kerviel saga continues to roll on with one unusual twist after another. I haven't picked up my copy of the original comic book yet, but according to this July 2008 book review it "takes the trader through the seven years from his recruitment at the bank in Paris in 2001 through to his imprisonment in January [2008] on charges of forgery and breach of trust. He is now free on bail." So let's begin writing Part Deux from there!

At a minimum, Le Journal de Jérôme Kerviel, Part Deux needs to cover:

In June 2010, Kerviel went to trial in France on the criminal charges against him. In October 2010, Kerviel was found guilty and sentenced to five years of prison (with two years suspended) and ordered to pay full restitution of the 4.9 billion euros(!!!) that the bank lost. Kerviel's sentence was suspended pending his appeal. As noted here, the 4.9 billion judgment equated to 3.2% of France's central government deficit for 2010, and could also "cover the purchase of around twenty Airbus A380 double-decker planes."

In October 2012, a Paris appeals court upheld both the prison sentence and the massive 4.9 billion euro judgment, finding Kerviel to be the "sole creator, inventor and user of a fraudulent system that caused these damages to Societe Generale." Kerviel promptly appealed this latest holding to France's highest and final appeal court.

In February, 2014, while still free on bond and awaiting the ruling of the appeals court, a despondent Kerviel somehow managed to get himself included as a guest at a public appearance by Pope Francis in Rome (see below). Kerviel stated that the meeting had a major impact on him. “It was incredible to meet the Pope. My mind was closed, and he found the key to open it and let the light in. It is difficult to put words to it.” After meeting the Pope, Kerviel was inspired to walk the 1,400km (approximately 869 miles!) from Rome back to Paris (check out the video of Kerviel's trek here) in advance of his March 19, 2014 appeal decision. 


On March 19, 2014, while Kerviel was still walking back to France (above), France's highest appeal court upheld his prison sentence but set aside the 4.9 billion euro damages award against him. The court found that the lower court's damages award had not factored in the extent to which Société Générale was also at fault. 

On May 19, 2014, Kerviel began serving his three-year prison term. He received his "conditional release" after just a few months, however, on September 8, 2014.

Finally, just this week, a French court determined that Kerviel's damages in the matter should be set at 1 million euros, a massive departure from the 4.9 billion euro “lifetime death sentence” that Kerviel had fought to overturn.

I think if Kerviel's earlier life and times merited a comic book, then these most recent eight years with the Pope, the 869 mile walk, the prison stint, and the 4.9 billion euro reprieve definitely deserve one, too!