Kweku Adoboli, the UBS rogue trader, is fighting to stay in the UK after an immigration tribunal ruled that he should be deported to his home country of Ghana.
The 35-year-old, who was convicted in 2012 of causing the biggest unauthorised trading loss in UK history while working as a trader for the Swiss bank, came out of prison four months ago.
Mr Adoboli called the decision “heartbreaking” and said that he planned to appeal.
Although Mr Adoboli has lived in England for 23 years, he never sought British citizenship. He argued at a two-day London immigration tribunal in early September that his home was in the UK.
After enrolling in a Quaker boarding school in Yorkshire in 1992, he attended university in Nottingham and began working for UBS after graduation. Though his family lives in Ghana, he left the country as a four-year-old and spent much of his childhood in Jerusalem and the Middle East. He has close friends in Britain and is godfather to several of their children.
“All I want to do is the right thing to make amends for my failings, to build a path of certainty for the future, to help others learn from what I was asked to go away and learn,” he said. “It seems fair that every man should have the opportunity for redemption, to learn from his mistakes and to go home to his family, whoever he deems that family to be.”
The Home Office disagrees. The department seeks to deport any foreign national who has been sentenced to longer than four years except in “exceptional circumstances”. Mr Adoboli was sentenced to seven years in prison and served more than half that time.
Government lawyers argued that he could use “modern methods of communication” to keep in touch with his friends in England if he returned to Ghana.
“On a personal level I have some sympathy with the appellant,” Judge Bartlett said in the ruling, handed down this week. “I am, however, required to apply the law as set out in the various authorities.”
Since his release from Maidstone prison, Mr Adoboli has been staying with friends in London and Edinburgh. He has been unable to look for a job because he does not have the right to work in the country because of the deportation proceedings, which were first served on him in July last year
He wants to do a PhD in the country focusing on corporate governance and work with a former head of compliance education at HSBC “to take an active role teaching senior executives and junior finance professionals how to implement positive cultural change”, according to the ruling.
Mr Adoboli was convicted of two counts of fraud for causing a $2.3bn loss while he was a trader on the exchange traded funds desk in UBS’s investment bank. He was acquitted of four counts of false accounting.
At the time, the judge sentencing him called him a “rogue trader” who was “arrogant enough to think that the bank’s rules for traders” did not apply to him. UBS was later fined about £30m by the UK finance regulator for lack of controls to prevent unauthorised trading.
Mr Adoboli wants ‘to take an active role teaching senior executives and junior finance professionals how to implement positive cultural change’
Ten witnesses at the immigration tribunal included Mr Adoboli’s father, who is a former United Nations official and his former colleague at UBS, Mike Foster. The headmaster at the Ackworth School and Sara George, a partner at Stephenson Harwood, a top criminal defence firm, were among the 13 witnesses who also provided statements in his support.
The judge said he accepted that Mr Adoboli had shown remorse, would be able to support himself financially were he to remain in the country, was unlikely to reoffend and that he had a “substantial private life”.
“The length of residence of the appellant in the United Kingdom and all the related factors to which I have analysed at length are the aspects in respect of which I have given the most anxious consideration,” the judge said.
“I consider, however, that the serious nature of the offence and the requirement to give the most careful consideration to the public interest overrides the factors to which I have referred.”
Mr Adoboli said the offence had “nothing to do with his nationality”.