Feared by the Banks, Loved by the Public

Fans call rogue trader Jerome Kerviel a modern Robin Hood.

ByABC News
February 9, 2009, 6:04 PM

LONDON, Feb. 1, 2008 — -- The man who has been dubbed the rogue trader by the media is becoming an Internet hero.

Some of his fans call him the Robin Hood of finance, others the Che Guevara of banks.

Jerome Kerviel, the French man who reportedly lost his employer Societe Generale $7.2 billion, hasn't given any media interviews since the scandal broke.

On Facebook, his profile disappeared soon after the scandal erupted, but several Kerviel fan groups have popped up in its place.

On one of the most prominent Facebook groups called "Jerome Kerviel should be awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics," Blake Cromwell gave tribute to Kerviel for having taken on a major bank.

"You are the man," Cromwell wrote. "The banks have a license to steal and deserved what they got. Those political fat cats are not as smart as they thought they were. Nice going Jerome!"

"Bravo Jerome," wrote Mathieu Apotheker, "you all made us dream."

Another group suggested a donation campaign to rescue the trader. "If 5 billion people join this group & give ?1 we save Jerome Kerviel's career," one writer proposed. However, as of today the group only had 1,691 members and there was no indication that anyone had donated a euro.

For some, Kerviel has become a sex symbol.

Shirts with the words "Jerome Kerviel's girlfriend" can be bought on the Web, and there is a Facebook group for female fans called "Kerviel is my boyfriend" with 50 members so far.

JeromeKerviel.com offers online support to stressed-out traders.

"Are you trading under pressure?" reads the home page. "Jerome understands. Send your story now. Merci."

Giorgio Bassmatti, a singer based in San Sebastao, Spain, posted an ode to the rogue trader on YouTube.

"You are the Robin Hood of those who have to pay their mortgage each month," reads the song. "You little one, we all once wished we were like you. People shamelessly shout that you should pay for your dishonesty, please ignore them, little Kerviel."

"I am fascinated by Kerviel," Bassmatti told ABC News. "Even his picture is so intriguing, with his closed eyes, he looks almost mean."