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Ex-SocGen trader Kerviel handed three years in prison

In this June, 4 2012 file photo, French trader Jerome Kerviel arrives at the Paris courthouse.

Jacques Brinon/AP

Former Société Générale SA trader Jerome Kerviel was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in France's biggest rogue-trading scandal on Wednesday and ordered to repay the bank €4.9-billion ($6.35-billion U.S.).

Mr. Kerviel, 35, will not go to jail immediately, however, and his lawyer said outside the Paris court that they would study the possibility of a further appeal.

"The appeals court...upholds the ruling," the judge told Mr. Kerviel as he stood in the court.

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"Jerome Kerviel was the sole creator, inventor and user of a fraudulent system that caused these damages to Societe Generale," the court's written ruling concluded.

In all, Mr. Kerviel's sentence is for five years in jail, two of which are suspended.

Mr. Kerviel was handed down the jail sentence in 2010 for his role in taking huge, risky bets that cost SocGen €4.9-billion to unwind and damaged the French bank's reputation, but he submitted an appeal to be acquitted in June.

While Mr. Kerviel has never denied masking the €50-billion positions that made headlines around the world as the financial crisis unfolded in early 2008, he has always said that his managers knew what he was doing. SocGen denies this.

"We had given ourselves the goal of defending Mr. Kerviel against an absolutely appalling injustice. I can tell you that we've failed," Mr. Kerviel's lawyer, David Koubbi, told journalists outside the court.

"We will now return to work to look at the possibility of taking his case to (the highest appeals court)," he said.

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