Former financial trader fighting deportation left “broken” after being held in detention

Kweku has lived in Britain for the last 26 years. Picture: Jon Savage
Kweku has lived in Britain for the last 26 years. Picture: Jon Savage

A former financial trader fighting deportation from the UK says he has been left “broken” by the experience of being held in detention.

Kweku Adoboli, 38, is fighting removal to Ghana after serving half his sentence for a fraud that cost Swiss bank UBS £1.8bn.

Adoboli, who has lived in the UK since the age of 12, said the weeks spent in detention at Dungavel in South Lanarkshire and then Harmondsworth near London had more of an impact on his mental health than his time in prison.

The former banker was released from prison in 2015 after serving three-and-a-half years for fraud and had been living in Livingston until his recent detention.

He was due to be on a deportation flight last month until being given a last-minute reprieve and was granted bail earlier this week.

Later this month, his legal team will go to court seeking a judicial review of his case.

Asked about his time in detention, he said: “It’s been awful. Being detained was pretty traumatic and I’m so broken from it.

“The 36 days I spent in detention did more damage to my mental health than three-and-a-half years in prison.

“By the end it was really tough and I don’t think I could have stayed there much longer.”

During his trial in 2012, the court heard how Adoboli, the son of a diplomat, was “a gamble or two away from destroying Switzerland’s largest bank” after making “unprotected, unhedged, incautious and reckless” trades.

His legal team have said he is now the victim of “draconian” Home Office guidelines which seek to deport any foreign national given a prison sentence of four years or more.

His lawyers argue that without a banking licence, Adoboli cannot re-offend and represents no threat to the public.

Adoboli said: “This is my home so I have to keep fighting. If you take me away from my friends, my family and my support network, then you are damaging me. That damage will be irreversible.”

More than 130 MPs and MSPs have signed a cross-party letter to Home Secretary Sajid Javid calling him the halt the deportation, while a petition has received nearly 75,000 signatures.

Adoboli added: “The public response has been remarkable and I’m so grateful for the support of everyone that’s been there fighting for me.

“Six hundred people have contributed to the crowdfunder for the legal fees, 75,000 people have signed the petition, all my friends and family who stood up for the sureties for bail – without them and my lawyers, I would’ve been put on a plane by now.”

Immigration minister Caroline Nokes has previously said in a letter that all foreign nationals sentenced to more than four years’ imprisonment were subject to automatic deportation, unless there were compelling reasons for them to remain.

She said the public expected “robust action” to be taken against foreign nationals who had committed crimes.