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Kerviel lawyer seeks SocGen records Add to ...

Lawyers for Jérôme Kerviel, who is blamed by Société Générale SA for a €4.9-billion ($7.5-billion) trading loss, asked investigators for help accessing the bank's accounting records to see what it knew of his activities.

Mr. Kerviel, 31, and his former assistant, Thomas Mougard, are at the centre of the probe into how Mr. Kerviel amassed €50-billion in trading positions. Société Générale has said it uncovered the bets in mid-January and unwound them over three days, resulting in the record loss.

"We want to have access to the bank's accountants to verify how the bank tracked Jérôme Kerviel's trades and how his accounts were reconciled," his lawyer, Bernard Benaiem, said outside the financial investigations headquarters yesterday.

Today was the first time that the junior trader and his 24-year-old former aide have been questioned in a "confrontation," a French legal procedure in which the judges present evidence from prior interviews and ask them to reconcile conflicts.

Mr. Kerviel has admitted to trading without authorization and faking documents. He has said while he acted alone, managers were aware of his trades.

"The problem for us is determining whether Société Générale was complacent or complicit" in Mr. Kerviel's bets, which exceeded trading limits, Mr. Benaiem said after the eight-hour interrogation.

The bank's lawyer, Jean Veil, said Société Générale wasn't aware of Mr. Kerviel's actions until mid-January.

He left the court after magistrates Renaud Van Ruymbeke and Françoise Desset quizzed Mr. Mougard's former superior, who wasn't named, together with Mr. Mougard and Mr. Kerviel, about what he knew of the actions of the two men.

Mr. Veil didn't immediately return a phone call requesting a response to Mr. Benaiem's statements after the interrogation ended.

Mr. Mougard's lawyer, Frederique Baulieu, said the confrontation between her client and his former superior "went well." She said in a telephone interview after the interrogation that Mr. Mougard did nothing illegal and only followed Mr. Kerviel's instructions.

Société Générale spokeswoman Laura Schalk declined to comment yesterday. GLE (Paris) fell 82 euro cents to €67.04.

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