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French bank Societe Generale said fraud by a single trader had caused it a 4.9 billion euro (3.7 billion pound) loss and that it would seek emergency funds as a result, shocking battered markets.
If fraud is proved, the loss will be the biggest caused by a rogue trader, ahead of the $2.6 billion (1.3 billion pound) hit to Sumitomo Corp caused by copper trader Yasuo Hamanaka and the $1.4 billion loss caused to Barings by Nick Leeson, both in the 1990s. It also eclipses a $6 billion loss racked up by hedge fund Amaranth trader Brian Hunter and his team ahead of its collapse in 2006.