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Photo: Simon Dawson

His personal life was also flourishing. Mr. Adoboli, until about four months ago, lived in a stylish building adjacent to London’s famous Brick Lane, a bustling thoroughfare known for its nightlife and curry houses. Neighbors there remembered his occasional lively parties.The flat, which public records suggest rents for up to $1,000 a week, is not far from the UBS Finsbury Avenue office in central London, the glass structure where Mr. Adoboli is suspected of having placed his illicit trades.

Regulators have been toiling away to write the specific provisions of the Volcker Rule, which is intended to prevent banks from trading for their own account and is named after Paul A. Volcker, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve. The rule was a back door and the second-best way of reinstating Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era law that separated commercial banking with its mom-and-pop depositors from investment banking with its reckless traders. Turns out that bank lobbyists didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. They knew the consequences a robust rule would have, and went to work in the arcane and shadowy rule-making process to carve out exceptions that you could drive trucks through, turnip or Mack.

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