Kweku Adoboli : The 2011 UBS Rogue Trader Scandal

Kweku Adoboli

Kweku Adoboli, born 21 May 1980, is a Ghanaian ex-trader known for his role in the 2011 UBS rogue trader scandal.

Adoboli joined UBS’s London office as a graduate trainee in September 2006. After working for two years as a trading analyst in the bank’s back office, he was promoted to a Delta One trading desk. In 2008, he became a director on the ETF desk, and by 2010, he was promoted to director, with a total annual salary of almost £200,000.

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Beginning in 2008, Kweku Adoboli started using the bank’s money for unauthorized trades. He entered false information into UBS’s computers to hide the risky trades he was making. He exceeded the bank’s per-employee daily trading limit of US$100 million, and failed to hedge his trades against risk. He also used his personal funds on two spread betting accounts, IG Index and City Index, where he lost around £100,000. In mid-2011, UBS launched an internal investigation into Adoboli’s trades. On 14 September 2011, Adoboli wrote an e-mail to his manager admitting to booking false trades. His trades cost the bank $2 billion (£1.3 billion) and wiped off $4.5 billion (£2.7 billion) from its share price. The trading losses he incurred while trading for his bank were the largest unauthorized trading losses in British history.

On 15 September 2011, Kweku Adoboli was arrested by City of London Police. He was charged with two counts of fraud by abuse of position and four counts of false accounting. He was in prison on remand until 8 June 2012, when he was granted bail subject to being electronically tagged and placed under curfew at a friend’s house. On the morning of 20 November 2012, a jury at Southwark Crown Court unanimously found Adoboli guilty on one count of fraud. Later the same day, after receiving an instruction allowing for a majority decision with a single vote against, the jury found him guilty of a second count of fraud. The jury also found him not guilty on the four false accounting charges. He was sentenced to seven years in prison. The City of London Police said “This was the UK’s biggest fraud, committed by one of the most sophisticated fraudsters the City of London Police has ever come across”.

Kweku Adoboli was incarcerated at Verne Prison in Dorset, Ford Prison in West Sussex and Maidstone Prison in Kent. He was released in June 2015. As he had never sought British citizenship and had remained a Ghanaian citizen, he was subject to the British Home Office’s policy of deporting any foreign national who has been given a sentence of more than four years. He was served with deportation proceedings in July 2015, and was therefore unable to work, and lived with friends in London and Edinburgh.

Photo by twicepix 

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