Author Le Bret speaks at alumni meeting about huge fraud at Societe Generale

March 26, 2015

At an alumni meeting on April 11, writer Hugues Le Bret will talk about his book “La semaine ou Jerome Kerviel a failli faire sauter le systeme financier mondial." In this book, Le Bret describes an eyewitness report of the 1.5 billion euro financial fraud which French bank Societe Generale fell victim to in 2008.

Even before the collapse of Lehman Brothers, French bank Societe Generale was confronted with an unprecedented financial fraud of 1.5 billion euros in 2008. A single trader - Jerome Kerviel - had exposed France's third bank to a potential loss of 50 billion euros. If Societe Generale had gone bankrupt, this system bank would have made the entire global financial system implode and the European Central Bank would have been powerless to act.

Author Le Bret was the communications director at the time of the Kerviel affair and was the bank’s spokesman during its rescue operation. Le Bret’s book relates the day-to-day discovery of the fraud, the panic, the media circus, the intrigues in the boardroom and the political role of the then President Sarkozy and Christine Lagarde, currently the IMF’s Managing Director. The book, titled “De Afgrond” (“The Abyss”) in Dutch, is not only a compelling story, but is also a warning concerning our current unstable financial system. One black swan event can still destroy our financial system, whether it is called Quantitative Easement (QE) or Grexit. Ariejan Korteweg, who was a long-time correspondent for the Dutch newspaper “de Volkskrant” at the time of the Kerviel affair, wrote the foreword.

The book has sold more than 55,000 copies in France. After the launch of the book, Hugues Le Bret withdrew from the management of the bank and two years later started a company that offers banking services to people who have been rejected by large French banks: Le Compte Nickel.

After a novel about the Dutch real estate world (“De Vastgoedvriend”) from 2013 by an insider from the real estate world and “Sagan & zoon" (2014), the story of Denis Westhoff, the son of Françoise Sagan, Hugues Le Bret’s “De Afgrond” is the third insider novel from Publisher Epimetheus.

Register for the alumni and students meeting with Hugues Le Bret