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Rogue trader arrives home
July 4, 1999: 4:59 a.m. ET

Nick Leeson, who broke Barings, arrives in UK; wants 'a cup of tea'
By Staff Writer Rod Cant
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LONDON (CNNfn) - Rogue Trader Nick Leeson returned home Sunday, saying he was sorry, and looking forward to a cup of tea.
     Less than a day after his release from Tanah Merah prison in Singapore, the man who broke Barings, Britain's oldest merchant bank, faced a barrage of cameras and questions from almost 100 journalists in a press conference at London's Heathrow airport.
     "I know I did wrong," Leeson admitted, "but I've done my time and now I want to get on with my life."
     Leeson spoke to reporters at a packed press conference just after getting off the plane from Singapore. Hundreds of camera flashes seemed to dazzle and bemuse him as photographers jostled to get the best shot of the notorious derivatives dealer.
leeson pic Leeson faces the press

     He has served four and a half years in jail - mostly in Singapore, but also nine months in Frankfurt after he was initially arrested. His fraud and deception caused the collapse of Barings, which was subsequently bought by Dutch group ING for one pound, after he racked up $1.4 billion in losses from wild trading on the Singapore derivatives exchange.
     Leeson was released early from a six and a half year jail term for good behavior. However, despite his return to freedom his future is far from clear, and further troubles may well lie ahead.
Money still a problem for Leeson

     Money will remain a problem. Liquidators in the collapse of Barings are still trying to recoup money, and they have obtained a court order controlling Leeson's finances. Leeson is allowed 5,000 pounds ($8,000) a month in living expenses, and anything extra needs written permission from the liquidators. He is thought to have sold the story of his time in jail - a regime he called "tough but fair" - to the tabloid Daily Mail for something in the region of 100,000 pounds.
     There is a possibility that Barings bondholders, who lost a fortune when the bank crashed, may pursue criminal charges against Leeson in Britain.
Cash hoard?

     Having read from a short prepared statement, Leeson departed, leaving his lawyer, Stephen Pollard, to face a plethora of questions from the ranks of journalists and film crews.
press pic Intense press interest

     Pollard described as "absurd" and "utter nonsense" some media reports that Leeson has salted away a 2 million pound cash hoard.
     Leeson's immediate plans were not made clear, although he said he would be seeing the friends and relatives who have supported him during his prison sentence. "I have found who my friends are," he told reporters.
     Pollard said Leeson had not received any job offers, and would probably take up to a year to decide on his future.
Suffering from cancer

     Leeson, 32, has been suffering from colon cancer, diagnosed while he was in prison. He has a 30 percent chance of the cancer returning in the next four years Pollard said, although the cancer is apparently in complete remission at the moment.
     Exactly how much money Leeson has to pay for his ongoing medical treatment is unclear. His autobiography Rogue Trader, sold very well, and a film version starring Ewan McGregor was released in Britain last week.
     Leeson hasn't yet seen the film. On his overnight flight from Singapore to London he watched "The Full Monty".Back to top


Rogue trader to walk free - July 2, 1999


"Rogue Trader"

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