SocGen eschews big players as niche Paris firms line up in fraud case

Specialised Parisian boutiques are set to be the only winners resulting from the crisis at French bank Société Générale (SocGen) following trader Jerome Kerviel’s loss of almost e5bn (£3.74bn).



Specialised Parisian boutiques are set to be the only winners resulting from the crisis at French bank Société Générale (SocGen) following trader Jerome Kerviel’s loss of almost e5bn (£3.74bn).

Despite SocGen’s international relationships with top City firms such as Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Norton Rose the bank has chosen partners from smaller Paris firms to advise on the lawsuit against Kerviel.

The bank has selected a team of specialists drawn from three local firms. Francois Martineau, a corporate and insolvency partner at boutique Lussan & Associés is leading the team.

Martineau has subsequently been joined by white-collar crime specialist Jean Reinhart, name partner at Reinhart Marville Torre. Reinhart set the firm up in 1990 after stints at Jacques Revuz and Siméon Moquet Borde & Associés. Completing the crack team at SocGen is Veil Jourde name partner Jean Veil.

Facing up to SocGen on behalf of Kerviel is prominent Parisian sole practitioner Christian Charrière-Bournazel.

Champion cyclist Lance Armstrong is a former client of Charrière-Bournazel, instructing him in defamation proceedings in France two years ago.

SocGen is accusing Kerviel of fraud after discovering he had invented trades to make it seem like the risk on his main investment portfolio was covered by a second portfolio.

SocGen released a statement saying: “These fictitious operations were registered in Société Générale’s systems, but did not actually correspond to any economic reality.”