Other Things UBS Could Have Done With $2.3 Billion If a Rogue Trader Hadn’t Gambled It Away

kweku adoboli jpg Other Things UBS Could Have Done With $2.3 Billion If a Rogue Trader Hadnt Gambled It AwayWhat does $2.3 billion mean, really? What can it buy, where would you keep, how does it taste, what’s its circumference? These are not questions for most of us. These aren’t questions for anyone, really, save Sasha Wass, the British prosecutor tasked with explaining how former UBS trader Kweku Adoboli managed to lose such a colossal amount of money.
From her opening remarks, via The Telegraph:
To put the huge trading loss of $2.3 billion in some sort of perspective, this sum of money would be enough to pay a year’s salary for nearly 70,000 new nurses or two Wembleys or perhaps even six new hospitals.
Also (approximately): 2,000 firetrucks, 460,000 used police cars, 1.5 million self-composting toilets or 40 million meals for the homeless.
And it could have been worse. If Mr. Adoboli, who is charged with creating false accounts to conceal unauthorized bets that went against him as the European sovereign debt crisis unfolded, at one point had $12 billion on the line, Ms. Wass said—enough to pay for 30 million business class tickets from London to Zurich (round trip), 6 million Bloomberg terminals (month subscription), 650,000 Breitling Chronomats,  or perhaps, to sink one Swiss bank.
The Financial Times, meanwhile, has an email that Mr. Adoboli sent last year to the accountant that challenged him on his trades.

I have now left the office for the sake of discretion. I will need to come back in to discuss the positions and explain face to face, but for reasons that are obvious, I did not think it wise to stay on the desk this afternoon. …

I take responsibility for my actions and the shit storm that will now ensue. I am deeply sorry to have left this mess for everyone and to have put my bank and my colleagues at risk.

Thanks, Kweku