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The Story of Kweku Adoboli

Last week, former UBS trader Kweku Adoboli was temporarily spared being detained and deported from the UK after being denied permission for a judicial review for his case.

Adoboli, born in Ghana, swiftly lost his banking career after being handed a seven-year sentence in 2012 for losing UBS $2.3bn (£1.8bn) through rogue trading: a world record. Adoboli booked non-existent trades as hedges to hide that risk limits had been exceeded. When the money became such a notable amount that it was impossible to hide, he confessed to his crime in an email to UBS management in 2011. Following his arrest, he pled not guilty “for closure”. He defends his crime as an attempt to rebuild following the financial crisis when he was too young to make well-judged short-term decisions in such a stressed environment.

Now 37, Adoboli has not lived in Ghana since the age of 4 and has resided in the United Kingdom since the age of 12. Despite this, he has never applied for official citizenship. Under immigration law in the UK, if foreign nationals are convicted and serve sentences longer than 12 months, they may be subject to automatic deportation. Due to his lack of citizenship, the government has been granted permission to consider his deportation. Adoboli is currently reporting to the police station every fortnight whilst appealing their decision.

After serving half of his sentence, Adoboli was released in 2015 and has since attempted to atone for his crimes by educating everyone from students to businessmen through lectures in an attempt reform the banking system and stop his actions being repeated. He is currently crowdfunding his appeal and, if overturned, he plans to donate all proceeds to those in need of legal aid, in particular those at risk of deportation like himself.

Many feel that for these reasons, he should not be deported. Adoboli argues that deportation is “not meant to be a double punishment” as he has already served his sentence. James Moore for The Independent refers to him as an "ethical hacker" and speaks of the use of retaining him in the UK. Adoboli regrets a career that did not reflect his values and is deeply regretful. In prison, Adoboli was a ‘model prisoner’ according to legal documents seen by Reuters and has continued that behaviour in the outside world.

Despite this, others argue that Adoboli is still a convicted criminal and should already have been deported. Adoboli last reported to the Home Office on Monday 27 August and safely returned home. We await a government response regarding future intentions for him.

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