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Another Societe Generale trader in custody

/ Source: The Associated Press

Judicial officials said Wednesday that another trader at French bank Societe Generale has been taken in for questioning in connection with a multibillion dollar trading scandal.

Investigators are trying to determine whether Jerome Kerviel — the trader blamed by the bank for unauthorized trades that cost it nearly 5 billion euros ($7 billion) — had accomplices, judicial officials said. They were speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Societe Generale spokeswoman Laura Schalk confirmed that investigators searched its offices on Wednesday, taking some records and detaining the employee, whose name they declined to provide. She called the search part of “normal proceedings” in the probe.

The bank said a preliminary investigation shows Kerviel acted alone, but investigators continue searching for others who may have played a role.

Investigating magistrates questioned an employee of Newedge, a joint venture between Societe Generale and Calyon bank, on several occasions last month.

Kerviel was taken into custody following the bank’s January disclosure of its massive losses. He faces preliminary charges of forgery, breach of trust and unauthorized computer activity.

A French court is scheduled to rule Friday on whether Kerviel should be freed from a Paris prison during the investigation. Investigators have said they want to prevent Kerviel from speaking with accomplices, if they exist.

Societe Generale says Kerviel forged documents and e-mails to suggest he had hedged his positions.