The convicted former UBS trader Kweku Adoboli faces imminent deportation to Ghana after a judge rejected his latest appeal to remain in the UK.
Adoboli sought permission in the immigration court to judicially review the refusal of his latest application to remain in the UK. But judge Mark Ockelton rejected his claim in the strongest possible terms.
The 38-year-old was jailed for seven years in 2012 after being found guilty of fraud that cost UBS $2.3bn (£1.8bn). He was released after serving half his sentence. Although he was born in Ghana, he left when he was four and has lived in the UK since he was 12.
Adoboli’s legal team argued that after he served his sentence for banking fraud he had dedicated himself to public speaking and hosting workshops about improving probity in the finance sector and warning people against making the kind of errors he made while working for UBS. He has been working with the Forward Institute, which promotes responsible leadership in business and society and evidence of this work was submitted to the court.
But Ockelton rejected these arguments and said Adoboli had been “talking up” his contribution to improving ethical behaviour in the business world.
“Although assertions are made about his value there is nothing in this material which shows a unique or weighty contribution in the public interest,” he said. “There is no empirical statement of what difference his absence would actually make.”
He said that if Adoboli wanted to continue giving talks he could do so via video-link from Ghana.
As well as rejecting the judicial review application the judge also refused his legal team permission to appeal against his decision in the court of appeal and ordered that he paid almost £2,000 costs incurred by the Home Office for participating in the case.
Adoboli and his supporters appeared distraught after the hearing.
Adoboli said: “Today’s hearing felt like a second [criminal] trial. I have worked really hard for the last seven years, firstly to right my wrongs and also to help people learn why these things happen. None of this has been done to absolve myself of what I did. This judgment casts aspersions about my character which I completely disagree with. This is incredibly distressing. I have lived here for 26 years. My identity is British.”
He added that he was “dumbfounded” that the judge had found against him on every single point.
He vowed to fight on to remain in the UK. Adoboli has the support of his girlfriend, Alice Gray, and a large group of friends and colleagues who have been campaigning for his right to remain in the UK. More than 130 cross-party MPs and MSPs signed a letter to the home secretary calling on him to allow Adoboli to remain in the UK.
“We are fighting for life, love and family,” he said.
His legal team is considering next steps in his case. As a foreign national given a jail sentence of more than four years, Adoboli is subject to automatic deportation under UK immigration laws unless “compelling” circumstances can be argued to prevent such a removal.
In his recent report (pdf) into immigration detention, the former prisons ombudsman Stephen Shaw described the Home Office policy to deport people who had committed crimes but had grown up in the UK as “deeply troubling” and called for the practice to end.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are pleased that the court ruled in our favour and has upheld our decision in this case.”
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