Jerome Kerviel, the French former trader blamed by Societe Generale for close to 5 billion euros ($7.2 billion) in losses, was ordered to stand trial on Monday, his lawyer Olivier Metzner told Reuters.

Kerviel, 32, has been under investigation since SocGen unveiled in January 2008 staggering losses which it said were caused by unauthorized deals carried out by Kerviel, then a junior trader at the bank.

Metzner, who took over Kerviel's defense in March after the ex-financier sacked most of his previous legal team, said Kerviel had been charged with fraud and breach of trust, amongst other things.

The formal decision by an examining magistrate to order Kerviel to stand trial was widely expected after prosecutors had recommended on June 25 a series of charges against him.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in jail and 375,000 euros in fines.

The prosecutors had said that the breach of trust charge was to do with unauthorized money transfers ... but the magistrate refers to the charge in relation to manipulation of SocGen's computer system, Metzner said.

That shows how difficult it is to determine exactly what Kerviel is being blamed for, he added.

Kerviel was freed from prison in March last year after an appeal against his detention, but he has remained under formal investigation ever since.

He has admitted building up unauthorized trading positions, but has said his supervisors tolerated breaches in its risk controls.

Internal reports by SocGen into the affair show that Kerviel bypassed the bank's control systems to start building up positions in 2005 and 2006 for small amounts.

By the time SocGen discovered what was going on in January last year, Kerviel had amassed a position worth 49 billion euros -- greater than SocGen's own market value.

SocGen swiftly unwound the positions but suffered a 4.9 billion euro loss in the process which it blamed squarely on Kerviel.

($1=.6998 Euro)

(Reporting by Sophie Louet, writing by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Charles Dick)