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Alleged renegade UBS trader had luxury lifestyle

LONDON (AP) — Educated at an exclusive school in a picturesque patch of English countryside, Ghana-born trader Kweku Adoboli was known to neighbors as a polite and well dressed young man who mixed grueling hours in London's financial district with a lavish social life in the capital's nightspots.

But even the 31-year-old Adoboli, who was charged Friday with fraud and false accounting, appeared to foresee his work hard, play hard lifestyle unraveling. "Need a miracle," he posted on his Facebook page, just hours before his arrest early on Thursday.

Analysts and regulators were left questioning why Swiss banking giant UBS and its monitoring systems had failed to spot Adoboli's alleged fraud, which will cost about $2 billion in losses.

Alleged renegade UBS trader Kweku Adoboli, center, walks to be taken away in a security van flanked by police officers after appearing at the City of London Magistrates Court in London, Friday. (AP)
Alleged renegade UBS trader Kweku Adoboli, center, walks to be taken away in a security van flanked by police officers after appearing at the City of London Magistrates Court in London, Friday. (AP)


"Nobody blames the tiger for stalking its prey, but you do blame the zookeeper for leaving the tiger's cage open," said Stephen Brown, professor of finance at New York University's Stern School of Business.

Between 1992 and 1998, Adoboli was a boarder at Ackworth School, founded in the late 18th Century by Quakers, the religious organization which asks followers to develop a personal approach to religion.

Also known as the Religious Society of Friends, the Quaker faith stresses the importance of honesty and, according to the school's website, students are asked to observe periods of "reflective silence before meals," and attend regular worship meetings.

According to Vida Yeboah, a member of staff at the United Nations office in Ghana's capital Accra, John Adoboli, Kweku's father, had worked at the U.N. and was know by colleagues as a gentle, humble man.

The Times of London reported that Adoboli's father's worked in Ghana, Israel, Syria and Iraq — sending his son away to England to be educated.

At Adoboli's $31,500-a-year school, set in rolling countryside close to the town of Pontefract, about 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of London, Adoboli would have been taught the value of a peaceful, simple lifestyle.

Despite the childhood schooling in prudence, Adoboli lived in an expensive loft apartment in a trendy corner of east London — close to the capital's financial district — and discussed on his Facebook profile a fondness for fine dining.

Philip Octave, Adoboli's former landlord, said he left the 4,000 pounds ($6,300) per month apartment four months ago. "He was a very nice guy, very polite. He would speak to anybody. I haven't got a bad word to say about him," Octave said.

"He was very well spoken and dressed very smartly. He was a very quiet chap, actually," he added.

According to his social media profiles, Adoboli embraced his bustling and ethnically diverse area of east London — once downtrodden, but now home to well-paid traders and bankers working at nearby financial firms.

A favorite local nightspot was The Boundary, a swank rooftop bar and restaurant with views across London's banking district, known for its $1,200 magnums of champagne and pricey menu of seafood and traditional British game.

Adoboli also listed interests including expensive wine, photography and the gritty U.S. crime drama "The Wire" on Internet profiles, and disclosed he had been dating a nurse for at least a year. The banker said he enjoyed traveling to France, the U.S. and returning to Ghana to visit his parents.

After he graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2003 with a degree in e-commerce and digital business, Adoboli won a job with UBS as trainee investment adviser in 2006 — rising through the company to join its equities desk.

The trader's LinkedIn profile confirmed he worked on a desk known as Delta One and worked with exchange-traded funds — which track different types of stocks or commodities, such as precious metals. Adoboli and colleagues performed similar work to Jerome Kerviel, who gambled away $6.7 billion at French bank Societe Generale.

Brown said that banks have shown a tendency to fail to spot cases where ambitious and intelligent employees run into difficulty.

"These top banks hire the best and brightest ambitious young people and when they outperform everyone else the bankers want to believe in their brilliance so they look the other way," said Brown. "That's exactly what happened at UBS."

Brown drew parallels with the case of Nick Leeson, the Singapore-based trader who brought down British bank Barings in 1995 after he made around $1.4 billion of losses in unauthorized trades. Law firm Kingsley Napley, which represented Leeson, confirmed on Friday that it had been hired to represent Adoboli.

Kimberly Krawiec, a law professor at Duke University, in Durham, N.C., agreed that the culture inside UBS would need scrutiny following Adoboli's arrest.

"In the Kerviel case all the blame went to the rogue trader and Societe Generale got away with a slap on the wrist," Krawiec said. "That was a disappointing outcome because you have to accept there are broader forces at work when traders take on positions that are large enough to threaten large institutions and markets."

 

<한글기사>

사기거래로 2조 날린 은행원 호화판 생활 누려 



임의매매로 소속 회사 UBS에 20억달러(2조2천억원 상당)의 손실을 낸 혐의로 런던에서 체포된 크웨쿠 아도볼리(31)는 아프리카 가나의 중산층 가정에서 남부럽지 않게 자라 영국 명문대를 졸업한 능력있는 금융인이었다.

15일 영국 일간 텔레그래프 등 외신에 따르면 아도볼리는 가나 출신의 유엔(UN) 직원 가정에서 태어나 영국 웨스트요크셔 소재 애크워스 기숙학교를 다녔다.

이 학교는 한 해 학비가 1만9천635파운드(3천440만원 상당)나 되는 곳이다.

학창시절 그는 친구들 사이에서 '컴퓨터 달인'으로 통했다.

아도볼리는 명문 노팅엄대학 졸업 후 2006년 수습 투자 상담원으로 UBS에 입사했으며 체포되기 전까지 매수•매도 호가 차이로 이익을 실현하는 마켓메이커로 일한 것으로 전해졌다.

아도볼리는 집세가 주당 1천파운드(175만원 상당)나 되는 런던 도심의 아파트로 최근 이주했다.

직장 동료들은 아도볼리를 '매우 차분하고 행복한 사람'으로 묘사했다.

하지만 최근 들어 아도볼리는 친구들에게 재정 위기 상황에서 런던 금융가에서 일하는 것은 '전쟁'과 같다며 압박감을 호소했다고 한다.

그는 체포되기 전 자신의 페이스북에 '기적이 필요하다'는 글을 올렸다.

가나의 대서양 연안도시 테마의 중산층 거주구역에 살고 있는 아도볼리의 가족은 그의 체포소식에 크게 상심했다.

외신에 따르면 아버지 존 아도볼리는 아들의 능력과 성실성을 추호도 의심하지 않았다며 충격을 나타냈다.

그는 보도를 보니 자신의 아들이 실수나 잘못된 판단을 한 것 같다면서도 "아들의 얘기를 들어봐야겠다"고 했다.

이웃 주민들 역시 아도볼리 가족의 평판이 좋았다며 조심스러운 반응을 나타냈다.

아도볼리는 UBS 측의 신고에 따라 금융사기와 직권남용 혐의로 체포됐지만 어떤 경위로 20억달러나 되는 손실이 발생했는지는 알려지지 않고 있다. (연합뉴스)

 

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