ACCRA (Reuters) - The father of a trader accused of losing Swiss banking giant UBS about $2 billion in unauthorized deals said on Thursday he was heartbroken when he heard the news.
Police arrested 31-year-old Kweku Adoboli overnight at UBS’s London office on suspicion of fraud after the bank discovered a problem on Wednesday.
John Adoboli, a retired United Nations employee from Ghana, said he knew the financial sector was a high risk area, but he had no doubts about his son’s competence and integrity.
“From what the reports are saying, it could be that he made a mistake or wrongful judgment,” Adoboli told Reuters, saying he had to speak to Kweku before drawing any conclusions.
“We are all here reading all the materials and all the things being said about him. The family is heartbroken because fraud is not our way of life,” he said.
“I brought them up to be God-fearing and to appreciate decency. Growing up and through to school days they were very brilliant and respectful,” Adoboli said by phone from the Ghanaian port city of Tema.
The latest rogue trader scandal is an unwelcome blow to a Swiss bank that had started to see client confidence return this year after it was rescued by the Swiss state in 2008 following massive losses on toxic assets.
In 2008 Jerome Kerviel, then a trader at Societe Generale, racked up a $6.7 billion loss in unauthorized deals revealed in 2008. He was sentenced to three years in prison in October 2010.
Adoboli said he heard the “unfortunate” story of Kweku’s arrest from a relative earlier on Thursday and has since followed reports on the Internet.
Adoboli, who served as a U.N. staff officer in hot-spots such as Afghanistan, Cambodia and Iraq, said Kweku and his siblings had been “very focused” throughout their lives and careers.
“Kweku was no exception: he carried himself diligently and was made the school prefect at a point in London,” he said.
John said he had spoken with Kweku’s girlfriend in London, who confirmed his arrest earlier on Thursday.
“I’ve been calling his phone since and I am hoping he’d be granted bail soon so I can hear his side of the story.”
Editing by David Clarke and Myra MacDonald