Former UBS Trader Who Committed UK’s Biggest Fraud Faces Deportation

Kweku Adoboli was detained on Monday, a prelude to being deported to Ghana.

Kweku Adoboli, a former UBS Group AG trader who has been making headlines over the past seven years after racking up a £1.8 billion ($2.3 billion) unauthorised trading loss, was detained on Monday. This is the prelude to being deported to Ghana, a place where he hasn’t lived since he was a child.

According to UK law, foreign nationals that are sentenced to more than four years in prison are automatically considered for deportation. In 2012, Adoboli was sentenced to seven years in prison. 

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Adoboli was born in Accra, Ghana, to a then-United Nations official. Since his release, he has been living in Scotland with friends. He was detained today after he made his fortnightly check-in at a police station in Livingston. He has been taken to Dungavel, an immigration removal centre in Scotland.

Despite the fact that the 38-year-old has lived in the UK since he was 12, he never became a British citizen. The deportation could have been avoided had he done so, but he told Bloomberg that he didn’t think about his immigration status very much before things went wrong.

Adoboli said: “You’re not like, I’m committing a crime so I’d better get some protection. I f***ing wish I had.”

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History of Kweku Adoboli’s actions

For those who aren’t aware of Adoboli’s story, it started seven years ago, in 2011, when he made unhedged bets that the market would rise. He worked for UBS’s investment bank on its Delta One desk. In July and August of that year, things started to fall apart when a market selloff caused his trades to lose money.

By August 8, 2011, his potential losses hit $2.3 billion. Following this, in September of the same year, he posted on Facebook: “Need a miracle.” This is because he was on his way to creating the biggest unauthorised trading loss in British history.

On September 14, eight days after his Facebook post, Adoboli left the bank and later emailed William Steward, an accountant for UBS at the time, who had been asking about Adoboli’s trading.

In the email, he admitted to making “off-book trades” and took responsibility for “the s**t storm that will now ensue.” After receiving the email, he was called back to the office in order to explain his actions. He was arrested early the next morning.

The actions of Adoboli were a stark reminder for the industry that despite the 2008 financial crisis, the behaviour of bankers hasn’t necessarily improved. However, whilst he does accept that his actions were criminal, he told Bloomberg that being called a rogue trader “drives me nuts.”

“If your leaders are driving you to do it, and they’re aware that the risk you’re taking is different to what you’re disclosing,” then “it’s a struggle,” he added.

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