They're the bad boys of high finance, burning millions, sometimes billions of our cash. But are rogue traders just maverick loners, or a product of a high-rolling banking culture that's out of control?
Barings Bank survived the Industrial Revolution, World Wars, even the Great Depression. Then along came one audacious 20-something year-old called Nick Leeson and the whole venerable, rock-solid British financial institution came tumbling down. Or so they'd like you to believe. "I didn't know that the bank was going to collapse. I wasn't really interested as long as the money kept coming", says Leeson. All these years on, with super-sophisticated systems monitoring the traders and their every deal, extreme players continue to crash and burn mountains of other people's money. Just a couple of months ago Kweku Adoboli, a rouge trader at the giant European bank UBS, was arrested and accused of burning 2.3 billion dollars. John Sugarman, a former senior exec at one of Italy's biggest banks, alleges major criminal activity in some of Europe's top banks and says the regulators are asleep at the wheel. "You have hospital wards shutting down, you have schools shutting down, you have public services that are now being curtailed because there's no money. Everyone's money has gone to the banks." This report investigates what these rogue traders' behaviour can tell us about the global financial crisis.
A Film By ABC Australia
Distributed By Journeyman Pictures