Britain’s costliest rogue trader is out of prison after serving about half his seven-year sentence. Kweku Adoboli, who lost $2.3bn at UBS through unauthorised trading, was released last week from Maidstone prison in Kent, England.
He spent nearly nine months behind bars awaiting trial and has served an additional two and a half years since his fraud conviction in November 2012.
Now 35, he will no longer be able to work in finance, something he has done since leaving the University of Nottingham.
Not only is he notorious in the sector, but the UK Financial Conduct Authority has started taking steps to ban him from holding a regulated position in financial services.
Mr Adoboli was held in four different prisons, including Wandsworth in London, before he was released on bail ahead of his 2012 trial.
Since his conviction, he has spent time at the Verne prison on the Isle of Portland, off the south coast of England by Weymouth, in Dorset.
At the time, it was a so-called Category-C prison, which is a lower-medium security jail.
He was later sent to Maidstone, an immigration detention centre in Kent, and Ford, a low-security prison known for housing financial criminals and more violent offenders who are preparing to be reintroduced to society.
His lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.
Mr Adoboli’s arrest in 2011 over the largest unauthorised trading loss in British history shocked the City of London, garnering front-page headlines and press scrums in court with every appearance.
Prosecutors said the loss was large enough that it could have destabilised UBS.
There is some precedent for what Mr Adoboli could do next.
Nick Leeson, who brought down Barings Bank in the 1990s after a £830m rogue trading loss, gave his first after-dinner speech in 1999, the year he left prison.
He is still speaking at conferences about conduct risk and was recently tweeting about the arrest of Navinder Sarao, the alleged flash-crash trader.
In 2013, Mr Leeson joined a debt advisory practice in Ireland.
Jérôme Kerviel, who lost €4.9bn at Société Générale in unauthorised trading, served about 110 days in jail before he was released from a French prison with an electronic tag and under supervision in September last year.
Mr Adoboli is said to be staying with friends as he transitions back to the world outside of prison.
He had spent his entire career at UBS, first in the back office and later as a trader on the ETF desk.
Mr Adoboli was supported at trial by a large group of friends and his father, John, a UN diplomat.
Though a Ghanaian citizen, Mr Adoboli has spent most of his life in England.
During his childhood, he followed his father to postings in Syria and Israel before being educated at a Quaker boarding school in Yorkshire, where he was head boy.
Character references read to the court spoke of his honesty, generosity and dependability.
Mr Adoboli was found guilty of two counts of fraud for the trading loss, but cleared of four counts of false accounting over an internal trading account that was used to drip-feed profits into the desk’s accounts to hide some daily losses.
Prosecutors said he regularly exceeded his risk limits and booked fictitious hedging trades, exposing the bank to bigger deficits.
During the trial, the prosecution portrayed Mr Adoboli as a reckless gambler and master fraudster, while he argued he only wanted to make money for the bank and was taking the fall for others who were well aware of his trading patterns.
When he was making money for the bank, management turned a blind eye to his tactics, he argued.
Credit: Financial Times