Transcript reveals details of French trader's actions

A transcript of conversations between Jérôme Kerviel, the trader whom Société Générale says cost it nearly 5 billion euros ($7.2 billion), and a broker at one of the bank’s subsidiaries suggests that the second man had an intimate knowledge of Kerviel’s surreptitious trading and that Kerviel was well aware of the gravity of his actions.

The correspondence took place in instant messages sent on the Reuters system from October 2007 to January. The messages add to pressure on Société Générale to explain how Kerviel could have engaged in the furtive trades alone. They also show a side of Kerviel that was alternatively fearful and boastful.

The second man, Moussa Bakir, a 32-year-old broker at Newedge, Société Générale’s futures brokerage previously known as Fimat, was released after 48 hours of questioning by the French financial police.

Bakir faces further questioning in the case, French officials said on Saturday. Judges named Bakir as a person of interest to the investigation, a status between a formal suspect and an ordinary witness.

In excerpts of the exchange, first published on the Web site of the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur on Saturday and confirmed by a person with knowledge of the investigation, Kerviel and Bakir tried to calm each other and made jokes about going to prison.

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