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Kweku Adoboli moved to the UK 24 years ago, at the age of 12, and has lived here ever since. The Home Office is now trying to deport him to Ghana, the place where he was born but only lived until the age of 4. Because of the deportation order, he is prohibited from accepting any paid work in the UK, and is unable to fund the costly legal battle he now faces to stay in the UK. Please help us - his friends, family and supporters - to fund this fight against Kweku’s removal from the only place he calls home.
Ironically, the Home Office claims to be acting in the public interest, when in fact, it is making a very poor, simplistic decision against the future interests of the very community it is supposed to serve. The judge and jury at his trial concluded that Kweku had committed no crime for personal financial gain. There is absolutely no benefit to the public interest from losing Kweku Adoboli from the UK.
Kweku's Fight Against Deportation
Until 2011, Kweku was a trader, working at UBS, the Swiss investment bank, where his bosses continually encouraged him to take more risk. As his employers sought to isolate themselves from any wrong-doing, he took the rap for one of the biggest trading losses in British financial history. While Kweku accepted responsibility for the losses, he chose to challenge the charges because he wanted the full story of what happened to be told. He was found guilty on two of the charges he faced but acquited on four of the charges because it was clear his actions had nothing to do with trying to achieve personal financial gain. Kweku served his full prison term and should not be punished further.
A tragic twist in this story is that although he was eligible to apply for British citizenship for years as a permanent resident, the demands of his job at UBS meant that he was traveling frequently and did not have time to make the application. Instead as a foreign national with Ghanaian citizenship, the Home Office is seeking for him to be removed from his home and thus prohibiting him from seeing his friends and family here – effectively forever. But Kweku is a product of the English education system, British society and UK financial institutions. We cannot pretend that his character has been formed in Ghana, when he has spent so little time there, and so much of his life here. Form filling cannot be the acid test of national identity.
We know Kweku to be an honest and loyal man who has been open about how the losses occurred and the role he played, and we have supported him throughout his ordeal and continue to do so. He was not motivated by personal gain but rather by a sense of loyalty to UBS to recoup the losses his team had incurred, and to take the pressure off his colleagues. He never denied what he did, but maintained that everything he did was to make UBS greater profits, and that the bank turned a blind eye for years while the practices were profitable.
Kweku speaking to the 6th Formers at Camden School for Girls. His talk that day covered the importance of cultural and systemic change in the finance industry and life choices for this group of young future leaders in an uncertain world
We believe that Kweku’s deportation to Ghana is disproportionate, unjust and a breach of the essential human right to have our private and family lives respected. We would be devastated to lose him – effectively forever. The emotional damage it will do to Kweku is easy to imagine.
Kweku was served with a deportation order last year, and has unsuccessfully challenged it at the immigration tribunal. His advisers anticipate that there may be multiple appeal stages ahead and that at least £75,000 is needed in order to fund his appeal against deportation. Any funds that remain unused at the end of this process will be donated to these two charitable foundations close to Kweku's heart:
Mind - www.mind.org.uk
The Stephen Lawrence Foundation - http://www.stephenlawrence.org.uk
By donating funds to Kweku’s legal fees you will not only be helping fight this unjust and excessive banishment but you’ll also be sending the Home Office a clear message that you believe there are compelling reasons why Kweku should be allowed to stay at home in the UK.
Kweku shares his love of photography with one of his godchildren
UBS’ Trading Loss
In a high-profile trial that began in 2011, Kweku Adoboli accepted responsibility for losses amounting to $2.2 billion at UBS Bank where he had shared responsibility for a $50 billion trading book. The judge and jury at his trial concluded that Kweku had committed no crime for personal financial gain.
Shortly after his trial, regulators concluded that “the failure by senior management to adhere to the Bank’s own policies [was] indicative of a lack of focus on instilling a culture of compliance.” UBS was fined and censured for creating the culture that resulted in the losses. The senior trader and supervisor on Kweku’s desk was also banned by the FCA for his role in what happened. Kweku sought to protect his colleagues and his institution. As a result, he was the only person to be charged and convicted. To those of us who know him best, it felt like he was hung out to dry by an employer that had previously been happy to use him as a recruitment poster-boy. In our eyes, Kweku’s decision to take sole responsibility is a better reflection of his true character than the absurd caricature which the Home Office and Immigration Tribunals have dreamt up as their basis for his deportation.
In spite of his incarceration, Kweku now fights against a Home Office decision that he must, once again, be made an example of. The most recent immigration tribunal decision stated that “it is the deterrence to immigrants and asylum seekers and society's repugnance demonstrated by the deportation that are the [important issue in this case…]”. We feel this is completely unfair and undervalues the profound lifelong relationships forged over 23 years, the reality that he has zero risk of reoffending, the very high price he has already been asked to pay, and the very real and unique positive contribution Kweku is already making to UK society. From every seminar, conference speech and talk he has given voluntarily over the last year, there has been overwhelmingly positive feedback from those present.
Kweku and a godson helping a friend achieve a life goal on the Forth Bridge
Exceptional and Compelling Reasons to Keep Kweku in the UK
Kweku came to the UK as a 12-year-old when his parents, who worked for the UN, wanted to send him to a place with more stability. Since leaving Ghana at the age of four, his father’s work had taken their family to several places in the Middle East. Over the course of his time in the UK, the relationships Kweku has developed are as profound and important as biological family ties. He has been a Best Man twice, an usher once and is God Father to seven children. At school he was a student council representative, then eventually head boy. He sang in the school choir and played for all the sports teams. At university he was an integrating link between the student community and the Students’ Union as Communications Officer. In his final year he acted as Campus Coordinator for UBS helping other students gain the opportunity to work for the bank.
Not for Self but for All
Kweku's school motto at Ackworth Quaker School in West Yorkshire was "Non Sibi Sed Omnibus - Not for Self but for All". His willingness to give to his community never changed as he began working for UBS. At work he managed and mentored interns and new graduates. As his friends, we often felt he put his work commitments before his own wellbeing. After only 10 months trading experience his experienced manager and mentor left the bank. UBS left two very junior traders to manage a $50 billion book and tasked them to “push boundaries” and generate ever increasing profits in the most volatile financial markets the industry has seen in decades.
Doing the Right Thing
When the losses occured on Kweku's trading desk, the Judge in his trial observed that “[contrary to his expectations, Kweku] was persuaded to trade on the basis the markets would rally but they fell”. But still Kweku took on responsibility to first try and resolve the loss before sending an email to claim full culpability. Again, this is more indicative of his character – a fundamental desire to do the right thing – than it is of his failings as a member of our society.
In prison for 42 months, Kweku spent the time positively. He worked hard to understand the circumstances that lead to his conviction. Moreover, he taught Maths and English and looked after the well-being of fellow offenders as a Samaritans’ “Listener”. As chairman of two prison councils he fulfilled a role bridging the gap between prisoners, prison staff and prison management. Despite everything he was struggling with himself, Kweku still gave of himself to make his community a better place for everyone.
Kweku on his 30th Birthday
Above and beyond the relationships forged over nearly 24 years in the UK, the most exceptional and compelling reason to annul Kweku’s deportation is his commitment to pursuing positive cultural, behavioural and systemic change in the finance industry. It has become increasingly clear that it is of vital national importance that our finance industry evolves to contribute in a positive way to our society. It is also agreed by the Immigration Tribunal that Kweku is uniquely capable and placed to make an “invaluable” contribution to help the finance industry and our wider society learn from his experience of the last half decade. He has already volunteered his time as a keynote speaker at multiple finance conduct and compliance conferences. He has also been speaking to young adults and students about their future life choices. He is not chasing the limelight, rather seeking to accelerate a meaningful debate with those who want to address the problems that continue to beset banking culture.
In our opinion, it would be a terrible loss for the UK to lose such an offering and talent. More importantly it feels disproportionate and politicised to deport a man who has worked so hard to contribute so much to our society for 24 years. For anyone who knows him, he is a vital, integral member of our UK Family.
We should all fight for his right to remain at home.
Kweku with one of his goddaughters
Kweku at the christening of another goddauhter
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