The recent plight of Societe Generale and rogue trader Jerome Kerviel have only served to highlight the disparity between the treatment of corporate criminals and blue collar criminals.
The French banker lost his bank, and subsequently the shareholders of the financier, £3.7 billion – a staggering sum of money even for a global bank.
But what will be the fate of this untrustworthy crook?
If he follows in the footsteps of fellow swindler Nick Leeson who lost Barings bank £827 million back in 1995, relatively little.
His actions left the firm insolvent and he was sentenced to six and half years in a Singapore prison, serving just four and being released in 1999.
What does Leeson do now?
He’s a minor celebrity, who is a well-known face on the after dinner circuit and has also been the subject of a major motion picture.
So is this what awaits Kerviel?
Imagine the different treatment that Kerviel and Lesson would have received if they weren’t bankers and they weren’t on salaries in excess of £50,000 a year.
What if they simply went in to their local bank in balaclavas and demanded the money in unmarked bills – I’m sure that Leeson would not be out of jail now if he had.
The Kent five found guilty of a £53 million pound raid on a Securitas depot, which admittedly involved a kidnap – but no injuries to their victims, will be sentenced tomorrow.
I bet they serve more than four years each.