France: Convicted banker's protest walk

Jerome Kerviel Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jerome Kerviel is appealing against a prison term and large fine

A convicted financial trader awaiting his final court appeal is walking from Rome to Paris in protest against "the tyranny of the market", it's been reported.

After being photographed with Pope Francis at the Vatican, former trader Jerome Kerviel, who was convicted in 2010 of conducting unauthorised trades that cost his employers Societe Generale 4.9 billion euros (£4bn), announced his intention to walk back to the French capital, Radio France Internationale reports.

Kerviel and his lawyer David Koubbi met the Pope during an audience in St Peter's Square, after the pontiff was reported to be "very affected" by a letter the ex-trader had sent to him. After discussing "the tyranny of the market" with the Pope, Kerviel decided to walk 1,400km (870 miles) back to Paris, the 20minutes.fr news website said.

Radio France says he has little money and few possessions, and doesn't intend to be back in Paris in time for an appeal on 19 March against a three-year prison sentence and a 4.9 billion euro fine. His lawyer says that if this final appeal goes against him, "he won't go on the run", and will report to prison straight away.

Despite his conviction, Kerviel claims that his employers knew the risks he was taking on the financial markets, and no independent assessment has ever been made of Societe Generale's losses attributed to him. After saying that was let down by the legal system, Kerviel says he is now hoping for "divine justice".

Image copyright COMITE SOUTIEN JEROME KERVIEL
Image caption Kerviel decided to make his trek after meeting Pope Francis

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