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June 28, 2017

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US rogue trading affair rocks heart of England's scandal-hit financial hub

LONDON -- The jailing of rogue UBS trader Kweku Adoboli, convicted of Britain's biggest-ever fraud, is the latest damaging scandal to rock London's financial district and spark fresh concerns over its conduct.

Adoboli was jailed last week for seven years after gambling away US$2.3 billion (1.8 billion euros) of the Swiss bank's money in a spectacular fall from grace that highlighted the city's risk culture, analysts said.

A jury in London found the Ghanaian-born banker, 32, guilty of two counts of fraud, though it cleared him of four charges of false accounting.

"Adoboli is very much a symbol" of the city, or London's financial quarter, independent banking analyst Ralph Silva told AFP. "He is an old school guy."

Silva noted that London-based traders had been willing to take greater risks than their counterparts across the Atlantic in the run-up to the financial crisis beginning in 2008.

"London was far more risky than anywhere else, they (traders) took bigger risks even than the U.S. because New York took risks only in America, (but) London took risks in the world," he said.

Adoboli admitted losing the enormous sums but denied any wrongdoing. He claimed that senior UBS managers were fully aware of his activities and encouraged him to take risks and raise profits.

"There is a strong streak of the gambler in you," Judge Brian Keith told Adoboli, as he sentenced him. "You were arrogant to think the bank's rules for traders did not apply to you."

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