What\’s the Frenchie for " the law is an ass"?

PARIS — Société Générale says wayward trader Jérôme Kerviel lost the bank $7.2 billion. But that was last week. He\’s now on his way to cult celebrity — and he still hasn\’t lost his job.

Société Générale has stopped paying Mr. Kerviel and told him not to come to the office, but it hasn\’t managed to formally fire him. French law stipulates that to do that, the bank must first call him in for a sit-down meeting and explain its dissatisfaction. He has the right to bring along a trade-union official, a lawyer or anyone else he\’d like.

That will be complicated: A pair of Paris judges this week released Mr. Kerviel from custody but forbade him to have contact with the bank.

5 thoughts on “Snigger”

  1. The losses of Société Générale appear to be modest as compared with the losses accumulated during the Mitterrand presidency by Crédit Lyonnais, a state owned bank in France:

    “By July 1997, French finance minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn could admit that the bank had probably lost around Ffr100 billion, or around $17 billion, in its colossal spending spree. Independent commentators have suggested that the debacle will end up costing the French taxpayer between $20 and $30 billion.”

    Btw Dominique Strauss-Kahn is now head of the IMF.


  2. With thanks to the shade of Miles Kington, the Franglais would be something like “la loi est un ane”, however most Frenchies would use the all purpose phrase “c’est defaut des Anglais perfides” instead because French law is logical by definition.
    Apologies for the lack of circumflexes (hasn’t the Academie francaise banned them?) and no acute accent in defaut.

  3. Pingback: Bloggertarian Round-Up « Thoughts on Freedom

  4. I rather felt that we shouldn’t be allowed to entirely forget about Debit Lyonnais, which was eventually privatised with a few hiccups – hiccups like the trial of Jean-Claude Trichet, when he was the Governor of the Bank of France, for alleged offences in the course of the privatisation:

    Trichet was duly acquitted and famously went on to become head of the European Central Bank, which ensured a good education at the École Nationale d’Administration, among other prestigious institutions, is being put to good use.

    The course of privatising a state-owned bank saddled with such monumental debt is an enduring testimony to French ingenuity. They created a new statutory institution which “bought” the debts of Debit Lyonnais. At a stroke, the bank became solvent again and ready for privatization. Eventually, as mentioned above, French taxpayers will pay down the debt.

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, now head of the IMF, wasn’t to blame either. He was just one of those drafted in to help clear up the mess of Crédit Lyonnais. At one time, he was a professor at the École Nationale d’Administration.

    Sarkozy, the present President of France, has broken with tradition. He did not attend École Nationale d’Administration, which is a little unusual and a cause for discrete comment but this is not without precedent. Mitterrand (president of France, 1981-1995) wasn’t an ENARC either. Curiously, in the presidential elections last year when Sarkozy was elected, Ségolène Royal, the Socialist candidate and Sarkozy’s principal opponent in the elections, is an ENARC, which only goes to show that there is nothing especially politically partisan in France about going to École Nationale d’Administration. Famously, Giscard d’Estaing, Jacques Delors, Edouard Balladur, Jacques Chirac, Dominique d’Villepin etc etc are all ENARCs. So are François Hollande, Ségolène Royal’s long-time partner, and Alain Juppé.

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