Little quicker than I thought, but it appears to explain that torrent of selling overseas Monday.
Bloomberg: Societe Generale Reports EU4.9 Billion Trading Loss.
Societe Generale SA said bets on stock index futures by a rogue trader caused a 4.9 billion-euro ($7.2 billion) trading loss, the largest in banking history.
Jerome Kerviel, 31, was the trader responsible, the Paris- based bank said today. Societe Generale plans to raise 5.5 billion euros from shareholders after the loss and subprime- related writedowns depleted capital. The Bank of France, the country's banking regulator, is investigating the alleged fraud.
The trading loss exceeds the $6.6 billion Amaranth Advisors LLC lost in 2006, and is more than four times the $1.4 billion of losses by Nick Leeson that brought down Barings Plc in 1995. An offer by Chairman Daniel Bouton to resign after the trades were discovered this past weekend was refused by Societe Generale's board, the bank said.
``At first this seemed like a joke,'' said Nicolas Rutsaert, an analyst covering European banks at Dexia SA in Brussels. Societe Generale ``was a leader in derivatives and was considered one of the best risk managers in the world.''