Remember 2003, when so many Americans hated France for refusing to participate in the Iraq invasion? The airwaves were filled with insults about "effete" and "cowardly" Frenchmen, the phrase "cheese eating surrender monkeys" was on lips across the nation, and rich patriots were boycotting Rhône wine in the spirit of national sacrifice. Well, munch on a Freedom Fry and ponder this: Finally, after one stunning revelation of big bank lawlessness after another, a banker is going to jail... in France.
That's a bit of a national embarrassment, n'est-ce pas?
Jerome Kerviel was sentenced today to five years in prison (with two years suspended), and was ordered to pay the equivalent of $6.7 billion US in damages. There are a number of questions about Kerviel's case, although the most puzzling one for American banker sensibilities might be the fact that he never profited personally from his massive trades. That part of Kerviel's psychology is incomprehensible to the Wall Street mind: He made his firm billions of dollars, yet earned less than $200,000 US per year for his efforts. A true American shark would have nothing but contempt for a sucker like that. more »
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