Rogue Societe Generale Trader "Just Got His Millions and Billions Mixed Up"

Paris, February 11, 2008 -- Jerome Kerviel, the so-called "rogue trader" whose actions resulted in a staggering $7.2 billion loss last month for French bank Societe Generale, simply got his millions and his billions confused, according to a French police officer who asked not to be identified.

The officer, Frédéric Passy, a member of the French police force's economic crime and éclair infraction unit, said Mr. Kerviel had said during interrogation that he had "intended no harm", but had on several occasions simply been befuddled by the "really big numbers" that characterized his many complex trades.

"It's a common phenomenon," Luc de Mauville, a mathematician with the Sorbonne University in Paris, said. "Numbers in the hundreds of millions, or in the low to middling billions, both look very similar. They're very long, with lots and lots of digits and zeros. If your eyes are tired or you've had a hard day, or if you perhaps have a small migraine from staring at the computer screen, it is easy for them to run together. Probably happens more often than we'd think."

While charges of attempted fraud have now been filed against Mr. Kerviel, Mr. Passy said he believes the new information may lessen the severity of the charges due to the extenuating circumstance of the muddled millions and billions.

By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor

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