Whitechapel trader was ‘sold down the river’, court told

A banker accused of committing Britain’s largest ever fraud while working at UBS Bank in London said he confessed his situation to his colleagues.

Kweku Adoboli, 32, of Clark Street, Whitechapel, told Southwark Crown Court today the pressure he was under affected his relationship with his girlfriend, and led him to go to a nearby church to pray.

Between August 24 and September 13 last year matters came to a head as the umbrella fund was battered by the market’s downturn.

Adoboli said: “Having lost control in July I didn’t really appreciate just how big the position was.

“I had become de-sensitised to just how big the trades were.”

UBS controllers started making inquiries about the deals, but Adoboli acknowledged today that he lied to keep them off his back.

He said that by doing so he was trying to buy time to fix the situation, adding: “My job as a trader is to recoup losses or make profits.”

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As the losses deepened, Adoboli discussed the situation with the other members of the ETFs desk - John Hughes, Simon Taylor and Cristophe Bertrand.

Following these talks at work and in an All Bar One establishment, Adoboli said he decided to bite the bullet for the others.

He told the court he did not see the point in “collapsing” other careers but he bitterly complained to his girlfriend at the time that they had “sold him down the river”.

He also told his girlfriend that he had until Friday September 16 to save his career.

A WhatsApp instant message he sent her read: “I know a lot of people don’t believe in divine intervention, but whatever way this plays out this is my lot. It’s not over until the fat lady sings.”

But the pressure proved too much and on Wednesday September 14 last year Adoboli went to St Mary’s Church, round the corner from UBS’s offices, to pray.

He denies two counts of fraud and four counts of false accounting between October 2008 and last September after he set up an “umbrella” fund for off-book trades.

The trial continues.